“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
In the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict, it has been impressed upon me that now in order to survive, I must live in fear for my own safety and that of my family, particularly my son. There has been an outpouring of advice and commentary on the verdict from Black tv pundits, religious, political and social leaders, social media and the AfroSphere. Most shrouded in anger. Some in astonishment. Few provide a rational strategy/plan. All are based on a foundation of fear.
This fear is understandable. The history of people of African descent in the Americas is one founded on fear. This fear was born, nurtured and nourished by the terror of those with white skins against all others. The “curse” of our black skin is what makes us identifiable and justifiable to be the recipients of this terror, whether in our original homeland of Africa, or as captives/citizens in the Americas… or wherever we may be in this world.
This terror has always been more readily unleashed with a fury against those with black skins who resist or even question those with white skins. It matters not if this resistance (or questioning) is real or perceived. It matters not if it is by deed, appearance or by even a look in our eyes. It is not tolerated because it signifies that we no longer fear. It is not tolerated because like any virus, it has the potential to become an uncontrollable epidemic. The antidote is terror. Pursuit, capture, beatings, humiliation, rape, imprisonment, dismemberment, lynchings, murder, etc. Our history is full of these terrorist acts by those with white skins against those with black skins who show any hint of resistance. The message is that of the Borg: “Resistance Is Futile.”
Trayvon Martin is just another victim of this terror. As far as George Zimmerman, his lawyers, the prosecution, the judge, as well as the all white jury are concerned, he did commit a crime. He resisted. He fought back. They have implied legal precedence. On March 6th 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision regarding the Dred Scott vs. Sanford case, which clearly stated that all blacks were “so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” The Zimmerman verdict confirmed and re-enforced this ruling for the 21st century. Hence once more, the triumph of terrorism.
The desired effect: once again those with black skins are engulfed with fear. We are paralyzed and made irrational by this fear. I’ve been bombarded by messages by those with black skins that I’m to be afraid. I’m to fear the white man. I’m to fear the black man. I’m to fear the police. I’m to fear for my life. I’m to fear for my son’s life. I’m to fear how he dresses. I’m to fear where we go. I’m to fear walking down the street in my neighbourhood. I’m to fear all things real and imagined.
I read a Facebook post where a young black man praises his mother for raising him in a climate of fear for his own safety. He states: “And I say that to say that as scary as people think black males are, black males are conditioned to be ten times more afraid of everyone else. We’re conditioned to be afraid of going to certain parts of the country, afraid of people with certain political view, afraid of police officers, and sometimes even afraid of other black and latino males. The most sickening thing about this whole trial has been the deliberate campaign to rob Trayvon of his right to be afraid. I know I would have been.”
I saw this video with Melissa Harris-Perry where she tells viewers how she felt “relief” at her ultrasound when she found out she was giving birth to a daughter instead of a son. We even fear our own unborn black men.
What we fear, we hate. What we hate, we destroy. We fear… we hate… we destroy ourselves. Mission Accomplished.
Regardless, I do understand this fear. I don’t criticize nor condemn those who find some comfort, some solace and peace of mind… in a false sense of security. We all have a paramount desire for ourselves and our love ones to be safe. The terror is relentless. It confronts us every waking and sleeping hour… everywhere in society… blatantly and subtly.
However, I don’t have this fear… and I’m not raising my son and daughter to have this fear. I will be raising them to be aware of how those with white skins perceive their black skins and therefore be wary of them. I will as well provide them with the tools to make life affirming decisions. But to fear those with white skins… NO! To fear their black skins… NO! To fear other people with black skins… NO! I will teach them that it’s not resistance which is futile… it’s to be a fear-filled and docile negro. For this will not save you. It will only make it easier for them to take your life, for they have already killed your spirit.
I know there are those with black skins who will see me as a bad father. That I’m not being practical for the safety and security of my kids. That I should impart upon them, for their own survival, the words of the beaten and broken slave Kunta Kinte: “toby be good nigga fo’ masa”.
I am guilty as charged… for I will teach them the words of William Shakespeare: “a coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”
So I’ll charge them to resist when you must… and know the costs.