One of the most exhausting things about fighting for revolution is convincing the oppressed they are indeed oppressed. Time after time, I have been told by other black people things “aren’t that bad” and I’m just blowing these societal ills out of proportion. This is understandable coming from white people. They benefit from the white power structure and have a vested interest in keeping the status quo. I don’t expect anything different. When it comes from other black people; however, I want to tear my hair out in frustration. I’ve been hesitant to call these people out, being raised to keep our business at home. It’s time to air this dirty laundry, though, because it stinks to high heaven.
My people, obtaining educational degrees does not insulate you from racism. How many college graduates are still denied jobs because of “black sounding” names?
Getting your dream job, or a nice middle class farm/cubicle position does not solidify your place in white society. How many times have CEOs been mistaken for the help or had security called because they look suspicious?
Using said job to get a nice car doesn’t help either. We already know how that actually worsens the problem in many areas. Police officers scoff at your black body behind the steering wheel of a car deemed too nice, so you’re actually harassed more often.
Leaving these areas and heading for the suburbs offers no respite unfortunately. While it’s made extraordinarily more difficult to get a decent loan and reasonably priced insurance, you are still unwelcome and watched more closely than your neighbors after you clear those hurdles.
At every step of the way, you are still a black person in America, and can be treated as such at any given moment. Hiding in middle class America doesn’t change any of it. You may be statistically less likely to die of gang violence, but where can you go in this country to escape the gang in blue? Only being honest about the problem will lead to revolution and lasting change.
There is a problem, by the way. Even if nothing ever happens to you personally, which is highly unlikely, there is a problem. You had to jump over many hurdles others stumbled on, you had some walls lowered for whatever reason while others ran straight into it, and by some combination of hard work, determination, luck, birthright, knowing someone or simply letting you in so they don’t seem racist, you “made” it. Congratulations. There is still a problem, though.
Anytime it’s acceptable to shoot 12 year old black boys for playing in the park, there is a problem. When 22 year old black men can’t walk through Walmart with their in-store merchandise without getting shot by police, there is a problem. If driving around your alma mater and daring to ask why you are being harassed or allegedly stealing a cell phone results in jailhouse “suicides” for black women there is definitely a problem. When death sentences exist for selling cigarettes, failing to signal, and not speaking nicely to cops, there is a huge problem and no, you are not immune.
Let’s be clear: your success does not make them respect us, and yes, things are that bad. Use your status and help us change things before we have to protest for you and yours. Better yet, use your humanity and blackness to show some empathy and fight this unjust system with us.