Why is it Getting Harder to be Black in America?

Reggie Fullwood
Reggie Fullwood 

by Reggie Fullwood

Living while black in America should be getting easier for African Americans. Hell, we elected a Black President, we are running major corporations and some of us have become billionaires. So life should be good right? Wrong.

Every week in this country all you need to do is casually peruse the news to see situation after situation of: “driving while black,” “delivering while black,” “walking down the street while black” or even “cutting grass while black,” to see that it is still extremely difficult to avoid racism in “My Country Tis of thee, Sweet Land of Liberty.”

Malcolm X once said, “If you stick a knife nine inches into my back and pull it out three inches that is not progress. Even if you pull it all the way out, that is not progress. Progress is healing the wound, and America hasn’t even begun to pull out the knife.”

And in the year 2018 we can certainly say that the knife has been pulled out, but have the wounds of inequality, racism and oppression healed? We have patched those very wounds for years, but we all know that bandages are only temporary solutions. Healing occurs when the wound is acknowledged and properly treated.

And thanks to today’s technology, smart phones primarily, the revolution or should I say, the degradation is being televised. I often say that technology is a blessing and curse, but in the case of Walter Scott it was clearly a blessing that it was caught on camera.
Walter Scott did not live to see his 51st birthday because the South Carolina police stopped him over a broken taillight. Mr. Scott ran from the police, which he shouldn’t have, but he was unarmed and not aggressive towards the officer, which does not warrant eight shots in the back.

Just last week, a 12-year-old boy was targeted while delivering newspapers on his first day covering a route in Arlington, Ohio. Someone called the police because of his suspicious behavior – delivering newspapers to addresses on his list. It doesn’t get any more suspicious than that.

Speaking of dubious activity – African American couple Felicia and Othniel Dobson were traveling home from South Georgia to North Carolina with their four children and an aunt. The family decided to grab some dinner at a Subway in Newnan, GA when the police showed up and told them that someone made a complaint about them. Apparently, an employee of the fast food restaurant called 911 because she thought the family looked “suspicious” even though they didn’t do anything wrong.

Yeah, six black folk eating sandwiches and chips in a restaurant screams suspicious activity. WTH!
Arthur Ashe said, “Being a black man in America is like having another job.”

Another 12 year old young black male entrepreneur in Ohio, the owner of Mr. Reggie’s Lawn Cutting Service, had the police called on him because he was mowing too close to a neighbors yard. The white neighbor told the police that the young man was trespassing.
All I can say is, “Wow.” Black folk are so tired of dealing with bigotry and discrimination based on the color of our skin and the fears of the ignorant.

Think of the number of young black men that have lost their lives because they were simply the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood. Trayvon Martin was probably the first major recent murder that really brought this issue to the forefront. Then came Jordan Davis and Michael Brown and several other unarmed black men that lost their lives too soon.

But is anyone actually surprised anymore? Unarmed black men have faced this type of injustice since the end of slavery in America.
Dick Gregory may have said it best. He said, “This isn’t a revolution of black against white, it is a revolution of right against wrong. And right has never lost.” I will say it again; the fight for equality was not a black issue, but an American issue.

The first time I became familiar with the story of Emmett Till was then I watched the Eyes On the Prize documentary in middle school. Teal was a young man on vacation in Mississippi from the North, and while in a convenient store with his cousins he flirted with a young white girl.

The girl told her father and brothers who became very upset and later that day went to Till’s uncle’s house and dragged the young man out and threw him in the back of a pick up truck.

Till was found the next morning dead. To make a very long and unfortunate story short, the men who pulled him out of the house were tried in court with a jury of their “peers.” And when I say peers I do mean the same type of people they were (racist, bigots). So despite overwhelming evidence and eyewitness testimony, the men got off and Till’s death was never vindicated.

While Emmett Till’s death and the controversy surrounding it made national headlines his story was not an odd occurrence in the Klu Klux Klan dominated South.

Fast forward to today in America and while so much as changed, so much has also remained the same.
So for those who don’t understand the black struggle, this article probably will not help you get there, but in the views of most of Black America we are “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Enough is enough – and Black people are tired of listening to armed assailants like George Zimmerman and the Ferguson police officer who say that they feared for their lives so they were justified in killing our youth.

Enough is enough – and Blacks are tired of being told that, “this has nothing to do with race.” Well, we are not ignorant. Race has been and will continue to be an issue in America because we refuse to have honest dialogue about our differences.
James Baldwin said, “Color is not a human or a personal reality; it is political reality.”

Black lives do matter. Of course, we should all teach our children to be respectful of authority and their elders, but that can only go so far when you are minding your own business and someone starts harassing you like Jordan Davis.

African American are tired of watching videos like the one we saw of Eric Garner being placed in a chokehold by NYPD, listening to him say “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” and then watching him die minutes later.

Being black in America has never been easy, but thanks to people like Donald Trump and his mostly mindless flock, it seems to be getting even harder.

Signing off from a “When did so many White People get so Mad at Minorities?” conference,
Reggie Fullwood

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