Tag Archives: racism

Caught in the Matrix

“Perception is reality.”  I remember when I first graduated college, this was one of the first phrases I was taught by a new boss of mine.  It made so much sense, and it has allowed me to assess many situations in my life.  Today, I don’t want to go into much, but at this moment, I have Baltimore on my mind.  And this phrase crept its way into my consciousness, by way of Neo in The Matrix.

I’ll keep it simple.  One day, while racing for the phone/portal to bring him back to the real world, Neo was confronted by his enemies.  Up to this point, his best defense against them was to fight until there was space to run, and then fight another day.  However, on this particular day, at this particular moment, Neo took a different path.  Initially, his enemies (in their usual fashion) began shooting at him, and succeeded in “killing” him.  Sprinkle a little Hollywood magic and Neo was brought back to life.  At which point his enemies began shooting at him again.  This time, Neo understood what was happening around him.  He understood that these bullets weren’t real.  This world he was standing in, wasn’t real.  It was his perception of a reality created by someone else.  Once he finally realized that, he was able to simply look at the bullets closing in on him and say, “no!”  And they dropped to the ground.  From that point forward, Neo had a lot of control in this world.

I’ll stop there.  My point is, and maybe this only makes sense to me…If we continue to accept what someone else is telling us (largely the media and the government) about the current state of our race relations…if we continue to fight one another about who is right and who is wrong (dodging bullets), and retreat to our corners only to fight about the same issue at a later date, we will never get anywhere.  Those of us who truly want to see a country of equal citizens need to look these enemies in the face and say “no!”  This reality you’ve created by sensationalizing certain stories on the news, is not the reality I choose to live in.  All cops aren’t shooting black citizens.  All black citizens aren’t robbing, raping, and murdering.  And this resistance can be applied to any  “reality” for any race, religion, national origin, or gender that has been portrayed in a certain light.

Certainly, there are people who fit the narrative being highlighted.  But that’s just a part of the human experience.  There’s someone who looks just like you, or who shares your religion, or who shares your gender, who fits into that same narrative.  And I’m sure you’d find it to be unfair if someone judged you based on that person.  I’m just saying, we need to stop letting the media perception (it’s all about ratings anyway) dictate our reality.  I know this little, rarely read, blog won’t do much to change it.  But I needed to express my thoughts.  Stop arguing about who’s right or wrong on social media…stop calling people names, and making sweeping judgments based on what you see on TV, or recorded and posted to the internet (those people have their own agendas).  Let’s get out there and make our own reality.  Let’s create our own shared agenda.  The destruction of inequality, prejudice, and racism by eliminating it from ourselves and our surroundings, and highlighting and ostracizing those who refuse to do the same.

I don’t have all of the answers.  I know the challenges are complex, and in some instances, so woven into the fabric of our society that it will take decades to unravel.  But it has to start somewhere, and the best place for that is…in your mind.  See your reality different.  Exit the matrix, and bring the fight to the real enemies.

Sometimes, Humans Just Suck

If you never have to tell your kids to be aware of their surroundings, you don’t understand.. If you never have to tell your kids that the law is not on their side, you don’t understand.. Unfortunately, a lot of you don’t understand…”

Walter Greene

The above quote is from a friend of mine on Facebook.  I didn’t ask him what this was in reference to, but I can be almost certain it has to do with the outcome in the George Zimmerman trial, and the subsequent reaction.  The thing is, there are a lot of people who would like to believe that racism and discrimination does not exist beyond the minds of those minorities claiming it, or the White’s who support those claims.  My interpretation of what my friend is saying is this…

You might not understand why so many Black people feel so connected to this case, if you haven’t had our experiences.  I could use slavery, and the hundreds of years of persecution, but I won’t.  What I will say is, you might not understand our anger if you never looked in the history books or watched film, and saw people of your race being sprayed with water hoses, and hung from trees.  And I’m not talking about hundreds of years ago, I’m talking about less than 50 years ago.  If you looked back and saw those repeated images and instances involving people who looked just like you, you just might get it…

You might not understand if you’ve never went to pay for something at the store, and the clerk immediately thought you were going to pay with your EBT card…

You might not understand if you’ve never gone to visit your friend of a different race at her home, only to have the neighbors call the cops because you and your friend looked “suspicious” while conspicuously walking up the driveway to the front door.

You might not understand if you’ve never been followed through a store as you browsed like a normal patron would do.

You might not understand if you never had someone lock their car door because you were crossing the street, or had someone clutch their purse because you were walking in their direction along the sidewalk.

You might not understand if you’ve never been pulled over and had your car searched, for no reason….no reason meaning, you didn’t even get so much as a seat belt ticket.

You might not understand if you never had to fear pulling out a wallet, cell phone, or any item from a coat or pants pocket in the mere presence of a police officer, could get you killed

You might not understand if you never had the realization that you or your brother could just have easily been Amadou Dialo, Abner Louima, Sean Bell, or Trayvon Martin, to name a few.

The thing is, there are people who feel that the outrage at these types of incidents are overreactions.  They would like you to believe that these things could happen to anybody.  Well if that’s the case, why don’t these things happen to just anybody?  Maybe they’d like us to believe that it only gets attention because the news likes to sensationalize these things.  Well, how many of the major news outlets are owned and run by Black people?  I’ll wait if you’d like time to Google it…So, if these incidents aren’t true racial issues but more of an attempt by the media to make a story (or divert your attention), isn’t that still a form of exploitation that’s dictated by the color of our skin?  Isn’t that still a bad thing?  Do you get it yet, or do you still not understand??

The truth is, not every bad thing that happens to a person of color is about their skin color.  Thinking and acting that way is dangerous and irresponsible.  I truly believe that there are good people of all colors and backgrounds that want everyone to be treated equally.  Just like I think there are bad people of all colors and backgrounds out there who would put a gun to the back of your head without regard for your color.  Sometimes, humans just suck.  But it’s also dangerous to believe that violent racism doesn’t exist.  The longer we try to pretend that it’s a figment of a small groups imagination, the longer we will see these things happening.

For those of you who do not agree, that’s okay.  If you feel strongly that race is a non-issue, then there’s no talking to you.  I won’t even say if you are right or wrong.  What I will ask is that you not judge the reaction of others.  In a case like Trayon Martin, either be outraged that a 17 year old was killed, or be indifferent…just don’t be an asshole.  Especially if you have kids…because if you do, I’m sure the thought of losing them in such a violent way, and having no one held accountable (in essence being told your child deserved to die), I’d imagine is an unbearable pain.  The fact that part of a nation is expressing their pain along with you may be justified/comforting.  So unless you’ve experienced this kind of loss, you might not understand.

The loss of any young life is tragic!