BY M. A. STEVENS
I believed in a dream of the people, where Justice would be more than a two way street. Because we shouldn’t be opposing each other. We shouldn’t be traveling in opposite directions. I believed in a vision of Justice as the best local train. Moving forward. Moving fast. Moving towards the same destination. Making all stops, for all passengers.
I don’t always listen to NWA, but when I do, it’s because America treats its niggers like dogs that get run over in the street. In the way. Disposable. Almost kind of funny. I hope my use of that word [nigger] made a lot of you uncomfortable. It should. Call me a sore loser, but I think Florida called the whole lot of us young black men ‘niggers’ when they said it was okay to kill a young man like he was Old Yeller. I say ‘us’ because some of you just get to be ‘people’ or at least pass.
Yes, I feel defeated. I am angry. I am the ugliest kind of angry. Thanks to this harsh reminder about what it STILL means to be a young black man in America. It’s a scarlet letter and the mark of Caine if you are not quiet and compliant. If you are not quiet and compliant, you are potential:
BY ERIC SMITH
It is way past time for all of us, regardless of our race, to ask ourselves a very simple question and that question is whether or not we prefer our young black males to become martyrs or men. Do we prefer them to be safely dead as a cause to be exploited or do we prefer to have them among us as they grow into manhood with all the problems and potential that the development of any human being entails?
If we prefer our young black males to become martyrs rather than men then let us continue to do what we are doing now. Let us continue to see them as a problem rather than as a person. Let us continue to think that while it is okay for a young white male to walk around armed and to be proactive in his self defense, that it is wrong for a black male of a similar age to do the same thing. If we prefer our black males to be martyrs rather than men, then let us continue to cast a critical eye on the violence they might do in response to the violence visited upon them rather than on those who have violently attacked them in the first place.
If we prefer our black males to be martyrs rather than men, let us continue to only invoke the name of Dr. King; let us continue to dismiss the injustices & indignities heaped upon our black males as being God's will or God's master plan. If we want our black males to be martyrs rather than men, continue to feel fear whenever we pass by a young black male on the street; continue to equate criminal intent with a hoodie, and continue to regard self defense as practiced by a black male as a crime unto itself.
In other words if we prefer our black males to be martyrs rather than men, then continue to speak of passivity as being a virtue and assertiveness as a sin; continue to tell them as we tell them every time we tell them to turn the other cheek in the face of aggressive conduct, that their lives count less than those who would kill them; that to appear saintly & non threatening like the whitewashed memory of Dr. King is far more important than their staying alive long enough to become a man; that their purpose on this Earth is solely to fulfill our needs, our desires, our hopes and our dreams; that unlike their white male counterparts that their purpose is to serve others rather than be be served by others as equal members of the family seated around the table of life.
BY RUTH ANN SATCHFIELD
In some areas of the country, too many people resent those who have come here from Mexico. Often, we do not hear much about the people who have come from other countries, but we have many communities of different nationalities throughout our country. In Texas, we have groups from not only Mexico but also Vietnam, Germany, China, Middle Eastern countries, and others. Many of the doctors in Texas come from the Middle East. I do not hear people complaining about them. Companies have been importing research scientist to South East Texas areas and hiring them at a lower rate than Americans. Our children get their education so that they can merit those jobs, but companies hire from overseas. Why don’t we hear about this? It is because the companies do not want us to know. My only problem with this is the fact that there are Americans who should be hired first, but they are not. It is not the immigrant’s fault; it is the fault of the corporations. That is all legal, some say; probably, but some sponsored employees have limited visas and just do not go home.
Why is there so much talk about the Hispanic communities and no others? I think it is because they are considered poor and uneducated. How many educated people do you think are going to pick the crops in the fields, clean houses, or do yard work? There are not many Americans who want those jobs. There are Americans who want the jobs of research scientist and the like.
Often, people do not take into consideration the emotions of the immigrant families in this country, or the rules that affect them so negatively. I have a friend who married a United States citizen and had a son. When that marriage did not work out, she married another man who was not a United States citizen. He ended up being caught and sent back to Mexico. Because of her divorce, her status changed. Since I am not a lawyer, I do not understand it all, but it was a hassle. By that time, she had three American children. She was doing house cleaning and getting help from friends until she got her paperwork straightened out. It was impossible to get a regular job, and law enforcement were even raiding churches looking for “illegals.” This was not in Texas, and that state’s crops rotted in the field that year. What do you think it feels like for children to know that their mom could be picked up at any time and deported, not for anything she had done, but just because of prejudice to Hispanics in that area? Two of her children had already lost their father. Some jobs she had to work for cash; employers would cheat her out of her pay, if it had not been for her American friends that called the boss on the carpet and threatened to have him arrested. This is very common in this country. We have laws to stop it, but most victims are afraid and do not have friends who can help them. I think this is a part of the reason Republicans do not want immigration “fixed.” As long as there is this subculture, they can keep wages low for everyone, and cheat those who appear unable to fight back. She was one of the lucky ones. Her paperwork was in the works, so she was safe. She was not accustomed to standing up for herself against a man. These particular men know this, and use it.
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