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Being Black is Worse than Having Cancer

February 20th, 2014 | Posted by David Whitfield in Racial Justice

I’ve thought about this more than I wanted; that being black is worse than having cancer! And that’s because cancer is potentially curable. Blackness is not. There is no pill, injection, therapy, or modalities that will restructure a black person’s predicament. Not true with cancer. Being black is a target. Born black is a stigma, a cast die, fixed; once the hand is dealt, blacks must deal with it the best way possible. And sometimes one’s best isn’t good enough. Take President Obama: the night of his 2008 Inauguration, some 14 republicans met in a steakhouse in the U. S. Capitol, and vied not to cooperate with him. And for the most part they haven’t. His black skin told them so. This has hurt many citizens. What had he done to these republicans? Nothing. And to be called a “subhuman mongrel”? Why? His black skin said so. Black skin sends a negative message that says you’re different, less than; you’re not good enough; you don’t belong; we can’t trust you; and we don’t want you. Go away. Black skin says there’s no justice for all.

How would you feel upon entering a university door, with enthusiasm, and be asked, “Are you security?” or, “Are you in charge of custodial services? There’s a commode in the women’s bathroom that’s not working.” What would be your response? Mind you, you’re dressed relatively professionally, coordinated suit and tie, nicely shined shoes, chin up, chest out, and walking with confidence, headed to teach a graduate education class. Your black skin says you don’t belong in this institution of higher learning; or, since you’re here, we relegate you to certain positions; your black skin assumes you are the toilet cleaner, or worse.

How does it feel in a world where you are a target of suspicion, fear, hatred, less than, a societal problem? How does it feel to be stopped by the police knowing you had better monitor your movements, your hands, gestures, what you say, how you say it. And though you may have a book bag full of credentials, your black skin says, “You…do…not…count!” And you could be shot. Mind you, dead men don’t talk. How does it feel to be different and the target of difference? And what if you walked into an upscale furniture store with intent to purchase, and you’re asked three times, not once, but three times: “Are you’re sure you’re in the right store?” And each time you say, yes because the gift certificate has the store name right on it. My skin color spoke: “You should NOT be in this store!”

Back to the university, again, skin color spoke: “you do not belong in this university. At times you can do little to rewrite the story or the message, no matter how respectful, how educated, how patient, how supportive, trustworthy, open, giving; it just doesn’t seem to move the needle from where someone pigeon-holes you because your skin black. It can result in death—yours. Since these are some of my unfavorite things, I will never know what it’s like just to be.

The skin color of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis spoke, saying they didn’t belong in this world. And they are no longer with us, no longer on the planet, and will never walk this earth again to tell their stories. And that’s because they were targets; their skin color said so. Imagine being shot while black, while walking, drinking ice tea, and eating skittles, or listening to “thug”? music. Let’s not forget: Martin Luther King begged for justice for decades—murdered. Medgar Evers worked for voting rights, shot in the back—murdered. Did these men commit crimes? No. And they are dead because their skin color spoke.

Finally, I must add a contribution from our former Secretary of Education, William Bennett. When asked by a news reporter how he would reduce crime. Bennett’s response was, “…I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.” Black skin told him that. And that was his suggested strategy to reduce crime—abort all black babies. Really, Mr. Secretary!?

What message does your skin color send?

And when will it stop? My answer is: Never!
Where does this come from?
What are your thoughts?

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