Sometimes I have to remind myself that my pedigree is a bit different from the general population. I can not fathom the culmination of thoughts that lead up to the ridiculous things people post, utter or text. It is quite disturbing that because some of us are unaffected by a tragedy we dismiss the premise in which caused said tragedy. I was once told that how I viewed education and how others viewed it will never correlate. For me attending college and graduating was never a big deal. It was something expected of me and something I knew I had to conquer if I wished to continue the lifestyle in which I was accustomed. Education for me wasn’t formal, but rather informal. It was the additional books I read and various interactions with people. It was life lessons that I learned through my experiences and those passed through a storied lineage. It was nice to see my name on additional diplomas, but it didn’t mean anything if I didn’t understand who I was as a person. Others see education as an “acceptance letter” into a society that they yearn to belong. Once we get those “say so” papers, we eradicate the lineage that is attached to it.
At 7, I remember cruising down I-10 west with my family. We were on our way back from an impromptu trip to Florida. [My mother has always been good for a spur of the moment trip to wherever we ( the children) inquired.] My father was absent on this trip due to his work schedule. She pulled into the Shell gas station in Vidor, TX. We were immediately blocked in by an unsavory looking man in a rusty Ford truck. She was allowed to skip people inside the store so that “she may be on her way”. Skillfully, my mother maneuvered our family van from around the sketchy man & truck,freeing us to be on our way. An eerie feeling crept over me. We approached the stop sign where chanting caught our attention. Unbeknownst to us on the east side of the freeway were members of the Ku Klux Klan. In shock we noticed the members on our side of the freeway the same time they noticed us. Epithets of “N*gger B*tches” and “Porch Monkeys” escaped from behind their covered faces. “Get Em” is what stuck with me 21 years later. My mother floored the car in an effort to escape those who were making valiant efforts to get us. Produce had smeared the windows of the van. That same rusty truck along with a fleet of other vehicles blocked the visibility in her rear view . They chased us for more than 20 miles until my mother took a back road she was familiar with and hid. Then at that moment I knew that the story of my great (3x) grandfather being hung for protecting his wife weren’t a story of the past. I would face racism in more subtler ways as I grew up with instances being as recent as my stop by a State Trooper to inquire how did my boyfriend “ acquire such an expensive vehicle”?
We have become so educated that we are uneducated. We believe that those degrees we get from integrated colleges mean more than the degrees of life our grandparents earned. We have accepted the fact we must forget about the oppression and remember the Holocaust & Titanic. I have read so many posts regarding us getting over racism, but I have yet to read a post telling anyone else to get over 9/11. When are we going to realize that every time we post “The black community needs to focus on black on black crimes” we lessen the intensity of the slain individual’s death. It is a possible ploy for us to accept the fact we all may be gunned down for just being black. Fun Fact 101, most crimes against a victim of a particular race are committed by a perpetrator of the same race. So while there are black on black crimes, there are also Asian on Asian, white on white and etc. Do you think any other race would accept the slaying of their youth because said race has crimes committed against them by members of their own race? How should I feel when I hug my nephews and automatically pray that they make it to see my age? How should the mothers of John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Alfred Wright, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Kendrick Johnson, Mike Brown and any other kid who will never know what today is should feel when the uneducated educated negate their slain child with self righteous statements. Should Leon Ford be concerned with these statements or his mobility? Racism isn’t dead. It just assumed a new appearance.