To suggest that war has been declared on Black-America may sound hyperbolic but it’s not without reason. It’s been a month since that night on November 8, 2016, when the unthinkable happened. The racist, narcissistic, misogynist juvenile twitter happy buffoon known as Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. How in God’s name could a country that elected Barack Obama, our first ever black President, twice possibly do this? Like many other Americans, especially black, I wasn’t simply dejected, I was sad, angry and in a total funk for the next several days. For the last eight years the level of hatred against Black-America was cringeworthy. In the days since Trump’s election, it has really intensified. Even with all that, I took some comfort in knowing that Trump only won because of the electoral college and if the Presidential election were based on popular votes only, he would have lost significantly. It wouldn’t change the election results but it did mean that bigotry and the white supremacy which some now try to call “alt-right” wouldn’t prevail as easily.
December 5, 2016. The jury in the case of Michael Slager, a white North Charleston South Carolina police officer charged with murdering Walter Scott, a black man who was running away from him after a traffic stop that escalated, by shooting him in the back. Slager then placed a tazer next to Scott and claimed that Scott tried to attack him. Thankfully a bystander recorded the shooting and the planting of the tazer so it seemed to be an open and shut case. Not so. At least one juror, in spite of everything, could not get himself to convict this man of anything at all and a mistrial was declared. Slager will be re-tried so some would argue that justice hasn’t been denied, only deferred, but I’m not so optimistic. The jury was already stacked in Slager’s favor, one being black and all the others being white, in a city that is predominantly black, and I’m not confident that the next jury will not have at least one member who simply refuses to hold one of their own accountable when it comes to killing black people. It was 11/9/16 all over again for me.
I had “the talk” with my sons yet again, about racism, about the importance of voting, about how to deal with the police and about how we in Black-America are still feared, hated and viewed as less than by many in this society. I’m tired of having to do this but I have to for their survival. It’s time we all had “the talk” among ourselves not only about Trump’s election and police brutality but about where we go from here. I don’t have a definitive answer to that and probably never will but thing is for certain and that is that if we don’t value ourselves, no one will. How do we show self value?
First of all, Black-America, register to vote. Many of are registered and do come out on election day but too many of us don’t. Yes voter ID laws enacted in those states that have them are there to suppress black voting but that just means we have to put in the work. The next major election occurs in 2018, halfway through Trump’s “administration” and that is a long time to put in the work in obtaining a state sponsored ID. Get it and get your behind to the polls with no excuses.
Also let’s reevaluate your values. Many of us claim to be poor but will buy our children the latest Jordans before paying the rent or utilities. Does that make sense? Not to the mentally stable. The money you save by living within your means can be put toward saving and investing in things that mean something. While the economy has improved remarkably over the last eight years, it sitll isn’t where it needs to be and don’t expect any imporvements under the Trump “administration,” especially as it pertains to Black-America. That is why saving, investing, living within our means and becoming more financially savvy is really going to be important.
Black health matters too. Republican lawmakers are already salivating at repealing the Affordable Care Act and even if it stays, health care isn’t getting any cheaper. What’s the best way to combat health care costs? By having must less of a demand for it. It doesn’t matter if a pharmaceutical company jacks their prices up 200% if the product isn’t being bought does it? We’ve been told for decades not that we have got to get more regular exercise in our routine and develop better eating habits. Yes it’s okay to have that tasty fried greasy stuff once in a while but it should be at a minimum and in moderation. If we can decrease high blood pressure (the thorn in my own side), diabetes, heart disease and kidney problems by the sligtest percentage, someone who gets rich off of it will feel it.
And let’s show some more self respect everybody. I would love to see much less of the N word and the B word. Anything that you would slap anyone of any other race for letting out of their mouth should not come out of yours. The same goes for what you would not want anyone calling your mother or sister. When a recording artist is on take having se with underage girls, he is to be condemned, not defended. When an up and coming singer beats up his girlfriend in public he is to be condemned, not defended. It would be nice to turn that reality trash off of the TV once in a while too. Black images matter just as much as black lives.
Simplistic you may say but don’t tell me that it isn’t significant. I don’t have the magic answer but not trying will not be an option between not and 2020. I don’t know what’s in store for the next four years but I don’t think it’s anything that we can’t get through. If we can survive slavery, Reconstruction and Jim Crow , we can survive a Trump presidency. I suggest a lot of retrospection and value reevaluation in the meantime though.