As I reflect on my grandmother, I understand the rule of thumb instilled in her to live by and fear Jim Crow –– a fictitious name but one with real life ramifications.
My great grandfather was on the run from down south where there was a price on his head. He was wanted dead or alive for disobeying his white master. He never returned to the south, not even to see his mother and father before they died which was more that 20 years later after his escape. He also struggled with PTSD and self soothed from the trauma with alcohol.
Today I wonder if there is still a price on our heads?
How many more instances will there be of deaths by the hands of police officers as civilians cry out “I can’t breathe.” But what if this means more than just oxygen? What if not breathing has to do with liberties?
In today’s society, as in the ’60s, Blacks are governed by a different policing state and are singled out for not wearing a mask, or vilified for wearing a mask or as in New York City a white woman can criminalized a Black man and call the police and say she’s being attacked and feel threaten and then becomes apologetic and no criminal charges are made towards her for making a false report and assassinating the character of yet another Black man in America.
Maybe we can’t breathe because we have a government that continues to vilify us based on our skin and engenders the same hate my great grandfather ran away from — something I’m now driving into.
Maybe we can’t breathe from the disparities in medicine that blames me for the lack of services I receive, poor healthcare and then my own death.
Maybe we can’t breathe because no matter how educated I am, I am still treated like a “n…..” that only passed through because of affirmative action.
Maybe we can’t breathe because the only time we are seen as valued is when we are performing, playing a sport or acting.
Maybe we can’t breathe because when we speak up and out we are viewed as complaining and being radicals.
Maybe we can’t breathe because the same society that encourages democracy limits ours.
Maybe we can’t breathe because you the people won’t let us.
Justice is not blind, she’s deaf. Even when we are screaming we can’t breath at the top of our lungs, she still manages to cut off our oxygen and life as we know it ceases.
My great grandfather knew there was a price on his head. Today maybe there is no price on our heads but we’re targets based on our skin.
Food for thought keeping it real.