Swirl in the City

by Jamal

I’d really like for this to be my last time writing about Black Lives Matter. With that being said, however, I understand that right now my voice is one of the most important. A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me how I was feeling in lieu of the tragedies affecting the Black Community. I answered honestly, stating that I was drained and was at a loss for words most of the time, and explained how important it was to share my perspective without forcing it onto others. Comments I hear in passing – at work, mind you – like “why isn’t there a White Entertainment Television channel?!” are microaggressions that fuel the smallest of fires that burn behind the bullets killing our melanin-kissed brothers and sisters.  

 

Black Lives Matter does not mean anti-white. I would know this because my husband is white. Not only is he white, but he’s from Southern Indiana, grew up raising horses, and hops around randomly and calls it dancing; especially to a fierce Lady Gaga track. All jokes aside, I have an interesting perspective and more to consider when it comes to my life in relation to everything that’s going on currently. S and I live in a pretty quiet area on the west side of Indianapolis. There’s not much traffic in our neighborhood, and the presence of other people of color is sparse. Lately I’ve been haunted by thoughts of me getting taken out by some uneducated, neighborhood watch tool or a policeman, while I’m peacefully walking our dog. I know this seems extreme, but I find it sad that I’m unsure of my safety anymore. Not only for myself, but for our tiny family we’ve created.

 

I’m always on high alert now when I see a police car behind me. I try not to run errands at night at the risk of being profiled and pulled over – although we’ve seen that time of day really isn’t a factor. The fact that all police officers aren’t evil, racist assholes isn’t a lost realization floating around in the darkest parts of my brain, BUT at the same time, it’s something I’m forced to consider. Take S and I visiting his parents for example. He’s from a very small town where I’m convinced – whenever I’m visiting – that I’m the only black person present, and that everyone there will throw a tantrum if you bring up gun control. I’m going to separate the next few lines because they’re important…

 

Even with those thoughts in my head and the fact that I am, most likely, the only black person around those parts, I would never jump the gun and be hyper-protective and reactive. I remain open and try to look at more than just the book’s cover. Inside of me there’s still a voice that says “go with the flow and be your best self…” If any of these murderous officers – not all, but the ones with blood on their hands – had any ounce of humanity, they’d be able to consider the fact that a person’s skin color doesn’t make them a threat. They’d be open. How I’m able to think like this in times like these is beyond me, but I’ll take it as a sign of hope; A sign that hope still exists.

 

I’ve never played the race card in all of my twenty-nine years and don’t plan on doing so for any reason. What I will do is stand up for what’s right. Preaching on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform has never been my style. If ever there are comments made that I disagree with, I simply bring up facts, significant points, and anything that will get the opposition to think past themselves. Consider my Indiana family for example. I know they love me and that they’d do anything for S, myself, and my family. I’m wondering how having a gay, black man in the family has caused their thinking to shift. “Racism isn’t going anywhere. It’s just changing its face.” I have a feeling things will get way worse before they improve. Educating and providing views into life as a minority is key if the receiving subjects are willing to listen. Stay woke, everyone! And if you don’t know what “woke” means (as it relates to Black Lives Matter)? Chances are you aren’t.
Let love breathe,

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