“Oh my God, can’t believe what I saw
As I turned on the TV this evening
I was disgusted by all the injustice
All the injustice”
Today, I woke up and a took a breath. I woke up knowing that another black man was killed by someone meant to protect him. Philando Castile was killed on a “routine” traffic stop for an out tail light. His death recorded live on FB by his girlfriend whose daughter was looking on in the backseat. There is so much more to this man that I won’t describe because the key to understand is that he was enough. His life, his existence was enough and we should not have to add respectability to justify why he should have lived.
Enough. Being enough. What is it about our black bodies that delusional racists feel comfortable continuing to push the idea that we are not doing enough to live? Why is it that we are targeted and executed day after day after day by people who are meant to protect and serve. They kill us with their guns, their hate, their intolerance, their racial bias, their racism, their ignorance, their character, their authority. Our nation kills us.
When are black people allowed to breathe, to exhale in the United States? I woke up and took a breath this morning but I have not been allowed to breathe and give out sighs of relief for anything involving the treatment of black people in America. Right when we attempt to exhale our air comes up shallow as we are quickly reminded of why we don’t matter.
“Peek in the shadow
Come into the light
You tell me I’m wrong
Then you better prove you’re right
You’re sellin’ out souls but
I care about mine
I’ve got to get stronger
And I won’t give up the fight”
“What to a slave is the 4th of July?” Frederick Douglass stated. Many feel this way. It takes twisted maneuvering to find something to celebrate for many on this day for our country. Black people were still enslaved on that day historically speaking and even up to today, we are still enslaved albeit looking different. Our lives put up for judgement every single day by a country that spouts that all men are created equally and all lives matter but their actions show us every single day that they do not.
Our moments to exhale again only moments. Juneteenth celebrations, Civil Rights Act, history making, black success and yet our societal celebratory exhales for progress are still few and far in between. Drowned out by the cries of last exhales from our brothers and sisters in places where the breaths of oppressors undermine and devalue their lives. Drowned out by black children forced to grow up much too soon, exhaling as they are set up. Drowned out by black adults taking on the weight of our people’s centuries of endured oppression, navigating through a nation that constantly changes rules on us, exhaling through the shouts of demanding justice and having to justify why we should live.
No, we won’t always see the progress we’re making, the fruition of our efforts. We’re doing work for our futures. It is still so frustrating, however, that our lives are not considered as important. We fall in love with our blackness, our partners, our children, our family, and people take them away from us and tell us it does not matter because they, we deserved it. I don’t have all the answers but I’m thinking, I’m listening, and I’m watching. There are many positive things to celebrate in the black community but we still grieve our trials and pains as we work to betterment for all. One day we will be able to exhale. A deep, penetrating exhale that our ancestors worked towards for us and that we will work towards for our descendants. Until then, love on the people in your life, work in the path you are able, and don’t give up, find your moments to exhale.
“Sometimes you’ll laugh, sometimes you’ll cry
Life never tells us, the when’s or why’s
When you’ve got friends, to wish you well
You’ll find your point when, you will exhale.”
Twizzlers and Truths,