A familiar James Baldwin quote seems very fitting in light of recent events, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”
In 2019, we have finally witnessed a white woman serve jail time (although 10 years is not hardly enough) after killing Bothem Jean, a Black man.
Although, Guyger used tried and true methods to avoid punishment for the crime she committed, the idea that the late Botham Jean’s brother and the presiding judge saw fit to extend grace, mercy, hugs, forgiveness immediately and well wishes for her salvation has left many with their jaws dropped in disbelief.
To be clear, this isn’t a call to incite backlash on either one of them for their actions. Their immediate display of grace is precisely what Black people in this country have been trained, taught, and brainwashed to do. There has been very little room in this country for the oppressed to openly display their rage, sadness, anger, disappointment, or fear without extreme negative consequences or blatant disregard.
Ask yourself, how many times have you seen the tears of Black women move anyone to stretch out their hands to comfort her? How many Black men have stood in courtrooms and received altar calls for their salvation? How lenient is the law for first time, “I didn’t mean to do it, but….” offenders of any hue of black or brown? Why is it that the world can only be softer, gentler, more kind, Christ-like, and compassionate when the tears of a white woman fall?
When will Black folk unlearn what they’ve been told to do and realize that there is enough room for their feelings and experiences to be validated without having to cower to the faux fragility of those who don’t even deem them worthy enough to live?
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