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The Massacre In Buffalo, New York, Moved Me To Break Down The Construct Of Race

Over the past week, we have been exposed to a multitude of feelings. One day we wake up and Kendrick Lamar has single-handedly resuscitated rap with “The Heart Part Five,” and his provocative and profound album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. In his deep, stimulating and mesmerizing lyrics over the most hypnotic and tantalizing beats, K. Dot prompted Black people to address the issues that have plagued our communities in order to achieve the greatness for which we were destined. I was so excited about this inner look into the world of many Black people in the hood, and the hope and promise his lyrics activated.

Days later, my rhythmic, melodic and lyrical high was infiltrated. I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a post my niece had shared. The post intrigued me, so I began to click on the video. It was about a young Black man from the infamously impoverished Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas, Texas. He and his beautiful wife, with their beautiful Black children, live in a beautiful home in Forney, Texas, literally 20 minutes away from my Oak Cliff home, the area he once resided.

In the video, a young white boy, who looks to be no more than nine or 10 years old, is hitting the Black couple’s door with a whip. The wife opens the door and asks the child to leave. He stands there not afraid, but privileged. He doesn’t even flinch. As he walks away, out of the camera’s view, he damages their car by hitting it with the whip.

The parents go to the young boy’s house to talk to his parents. The father walks up to the door calmly, while the mother remains in the vehicle filming. The young Black man is humble, not humbuggish. He approaches the door very calmly. You can tell he wants to solve the problem, even though he knows the young white boy is completely wrong for his actions. A white man swings open the door and begins screaming and cursing erratically once the Black man starts to explain the damage that was caused by his son. The white man protected his son. He didn’t care about the video or any other proof the couple had. He wanted them gone. He grabbed his gun and even shot it to frighten the couple. The wife pleads from the car for her husband to leave and he does.

And all I thought was, it must be nice to not be accountable for the evil you do.

Then, a few days later, I learned about the senseless shootings in Buffalo, New York. I listened as the news reporter described the racist manifesto of this sick and twisted white man who thought that people who are Black like me don’t deserve to breathe. I thought back to K. Dot’s album and said to myself, I am one that always believes that Black people can do better to solidify our spots in this world. But I was reminded that it doesn’t matter how much we activate mental health resources, become the most articulate people in the room or earn the highest academic honors, we’re still Black — and our Blackness is still a threat to so many.

It also made me think about what the word race really means and how we need to examine its power from here on out. I dissected the word as an acronym.

R — Racism

Racism still exists. Adults are still feeding horrible ideologies into the impressionable minds of their children, with no regard for the irretrievable damage they will cause.

A — Access

Access to guns is way too easy.

C — Criminal Justice

Criminal justice does not have a pulse on racially-motivated acts, and its blind eye continues to perpetuate the horrific incidents that cause turmoil in Black communities across the country.

E — Effect

The effect on the Black community continues to be overlooked and disregarded as we process the overwhelming traumas that continue to stifle our communities.

I once heard somewhere that the size of the loss is the size of the love. I love Black people, so the size of the loss is exponential when we are targeted for simply bearing the skin in which we were born. I pray one day the world will love us too. From this day forward, people who don’t become bold allies in this disruptive work are cowardly contributors to the continual hurt. It’s time to pick a side, America.

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