How does it feel to be a problem?
How does it feel to be the victim of war?
Not the “war on drugs” or the “war on terror,” I’m talking about the “war on black men” in America.
Yeah, I said it!
There’s a war going on outside and no black man is safe from the institutional, systematic, or blatant racism committed against them.
Black men are more likely to be racially-profiled, stopped, frisked, arrested, prosecuted, and jailed more than any other demographic in this nation. And they’re 49 percent more likely to be given a harsher sentence than their white counterparts for committing the same crime, especially non-violent crimes.
The war on drugs failed. The war on terror failed. But the war on young black men?
That war is winning.
Let’s be honest: the “war on drugs” was a subliminal push by the government to battle the progression of black Americans. What some would consider to be the new Jim Crow in the way it functions to imprison people of a darker hue – black and brown.
And when it became apparent that the “war on drugs” was a race thing, the government claimed it was “misguided” legislatively and the push behind the “war on drugs” faded into the complex realms of American policy.
Well, guess what?
Damage has been done.
Since birth, black men in America have been cursed with the burden of institutional racism built deep within this great country’s constitution.
From the complexities of enslaved blacks’ right to marriage and the disastrous affect it’s had on the institution of the black family, to the criminal laws this country has set in place, right on down to our educational system.
America has designed a society that systematically makes it harder for black men to succeed.
From the inception of slavery, the black man has been removed from the black family, isolated, emasculated physically and mentally, and left to define his own self-worth via decades of media portrayals and stereotypes.
And this “war” or crisis has to stop.
Innocent young black men who could have offered the world a host of visionary ideas or progressive inventions are being killed everyday for nothing more than being black.
And that’s the saddest fact America has hidden in her darkest depths.
Trayvon Martin didn’t have to die, but his skin was dark and his hoodie was just a little too reminiscent of those “hoodlums” or “rap guys” we see on TV.
As a black female, I will admit that my struggle is different and that my fellow black brothers “got it bad.”
I understand the pain that wrenches one’s soul when you realize you’re being followed or frisked for being brown.
I understand the rules and precautions a black person in America has to take when dealing with the authorities. I know that my black Marc Jacobs wallet could be mistaken for a “gun” if I don’t announce or ask permission to pull out the item beforehand.
I get it. And it hurts my heart.
Black females are considered a “threat” to American society, but we are seen as the lesser, more docile threat of the dominant charismatic black man who is influencing the likes of impressionable white teens.
Black people in this country don’t stand a chance unless EVERYONE, no matter your race, color, religion, or creed, acknowledge that WE (Americans) have a deep-seeded issue with racism – and come up with solutions to fix it.
Let’s face it, there WILL be more Trayvon Martins. More Sean Bells. More Oscar Grants. More Amadou Diallos. Unless….
We acknowledge that there is a RACE PROBLEM in America. Racism is still alive and the only way to fix our insecurities or fear we have of other cultures and races is through educating ourselves.
Stop ignoring the fact that white people and black people aren’t treated the same in this country.
Stop ignoring the fact that people of Arab descent aren’t treated the same in this country.
Stop ignoring the fact that Latinos aren’t treated the same in this country.
If this country was founded on the belief of the “immortal declaration” aka, “all men are created equal” declaration then WHY are blacks and minorities being persecuted for nothing more than OUR skin?
All men AREN’T created equal in this country and it has to stop.
This can’t be America. This can’t be democracy. This can’t be liberty. This can’t be the pursuit of happiness. And this certainly CANNOT be freedom.
The next time you mention #Kony2012 campaign make sure you remember that there’s a war going on in our own backyard where black boys are being forced to fight against those who fear them irrationally.
And the next time you pass judgement on someone of a different hue, you ask yourself one thing “Am I The Root Of America’s Problem?”
Brittany Lewis is the Music Editor at GlobalGrind and a Howard University Alumna. Brittany considers herself seasoned on all the pop culture ish that matters. Follow her on Twitter @Buttercup_B.