I have been asking myself for the last few days; Why have you not said anything about the young girl in Columbia, SC? As a father, a fatherhood advocate and change agent; why have I not said something about this incident. Well, you see for a few days I have refused to watch it because my senses just wouldn’t allow my system to absorb one more tragedy regarding our people (black people). You see each day I grind myself out (burn the candle at both ends) to create a condition and environment that I pray would empower men/fathers to amongst others things, protect and provide for their families.
It wasn’t until last night that I watched the entire video or at least what is public of the video. My heart has not stop racing since. A couple of days ago, when asked about it; my comment was, “well lets wait until we get all of the information.” I couldn’t understand why both my wife and my friend was so irate about it. To the point where I could see the pain on their faces. Then last night, here in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands we have been for the last few days training Headstart professionals; we all went out to eat. At the restaurant one of the owners, well into her 70’s was watching the incident on CNN. As we walked in, you could see the utter disgust in her face and then distain in her voice as she very colorfully spoke her feelings.
Fast forward to today, I read a facebook post by one of my board members; Rev. Darren Ferguson. He wrote, “you know… it’s a DAMNED (from the pit of hades) shame when we have been so conditioned to slavery, subservience and simple mindedness that we are willing to believe that a child caused her own abuse by not “being a good nigga”. If she talked about his mama and refused to get up from her seat, you cannot justify that treatment. I want to teach my children common respect, not how to act when approached by the police. We need to teach the police how to respect our children.“ #Fergthoughts #staywoke#dontneedtoseetheothersideofthisstory
So, after reading it, I thought to myself; we are starting to get there.
Last week someone asked me the question, “why do you think we don’t care about what’s happening to us.” My answer was simple, “we aren’t fed up enough yet. Whether we’re desensitized, tired, blind or ignorant; we haven’t had something that has happened bad enough (if you can imagine that) in order to move the needle of our emotions and conscience.
Then tonight my wife pens her thoughts by saying; "I keep seeing news feeds surrounding the Spring Valley High School assault. I am appalled at the number of people whose response is she should have just complied or that the problem with our youth is they don’t respect adults or authority. Lest we all forget at her age, the majority of us were disrespectful and/or disobedient. I personally, have talked back to teachers, fought at schools, and skipped classes. And yes I was taught way better than that, but I did it anyway! I think we forget that we are raising people not robots! Our kids have feelings, they have their moments. Sure the young lady should have put her phone away the first time she was asked, but to insinuate that she won’t know how to act when her future boss tells her what to do at work is ridiculous! By the way, I haven’t complied with everything every boss has asked me to do either! To condone the violent behavior that the cop displayed is absolute craziness! If an abusive husband beat his wife because she was not compliant, people would sympathize with the wife. If a child was beat up by a bully because they were not compliant everyone would sympathize with the kid who was being bullied. Inappropriate is inappropriate! Lets stop blaming the victim and acknowledge we have a faulty system and a group of people that are ok with using violence as a method of first recourse! #stoptheviolence #ourkidsmatter”
After I read this; I had an epiphany. I now understand why I have not been enraged by this incident. It’s because I’m always at this level of rage. Its also because I know that for many; their rage is fleeing. Their actions becoming nothing more than a facebook post, tweet, television interview or blog (and certainly not my board member or wife; I know their work.) But those who like to comment for the sake of getting some attention or just to get a reaction.
This incident is absolutely horrific. As a father, it is something that I would gladly go to jail for or die if it was done to one of my children. However the real issue here is, it wasn’t my child. Therefore I have to ask myself; now what am I willing to do? Part of what I know I have to do it keep grinding in my lane. Press on in my own work. To keep praying that God would lift the conscience of others to roll their sleeves up to support those of us that are attempting to change the conditions of our people on ALL FRONTS. There is NO silver bullet approach. There is NO golden answer, miracle leader or savior organization that will help with the issues we are facing today.
LOOK IN THE MIRROR…We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for and as long as you ONLY stare into the mirror/computer screen; and do nothing else; our leaders will NEVER SHOW UP!