Being Black in America

  First growing up black in my 38 years has not been the best.   I can remember going to school on the bus and looking out of the window riding pass homes that I will never own in my life and hearing some of my classmates saying that my house no that my car when I get older I’m going to live there.  I know that their dreams would come short for just being black.  That some white person would look at them and say that are thugs, just stupid, lazy ass niggers, uneducated, and etc.  I went to a high school in a predominantly white neighborhood, where homes run around the price of half a million to a million dollars.  I can remember the day after the Columbine High School shooting how some white kids thought it was funny to wear trench coats trying to scare some of us black folks but it didn’t work.  That same year I got my license and my first DWB Driving WHILE BLACK.  I was with my girlfriend and we were on our way to a movie to meet up with some friends and a cop stopped me on South Blvd. not from where our friends were at.  He the cop went through the usual cop lingo you know license and registration.  So I gave him what he asked for and as I was doing that I’m sitting in my mother’s car thinking what did I do wrong.  It was one of those times where my mother let me take her car out and it was the day after my last day of school and heading into summer break and I was only 17.  I’m not going to lie I was very scared and I didn’t know what I did wrong.  The police officer came back to my car and he said to me he was go home and have a nice day and walked away.  For one I’m shocked that he didn’t tell me why he pulled me over and still what did I do so wrong.  So I went and dropped off my girlfriend back home and I know that she was worried about me getting home safely and when I pulled in my driveway my mom said that we needed to talk about tonight.  One of her friends had seen me being pulled over by the police and had called her when they got home.  Now my mother grew up in the 60s class of 69 from Myers Park High School and one of the first Black Cheerleaders at the school.  I told her what happen and that day she told me that it’s not going to stop and she was going to make sure that I’m ready for the next time.  We talk about what she went through and that she was sorry for I went through with that cop that night.   The last time I got pulled over for DWB was in Rock Hill, SC coming back from meeting with a photographer for my wedding with my fiancé now my wife and my oldest child and at the time she was a newborn not even one yet.  The cop went through the usual cop lingo you know license and registration like I haven’t heard them words ever before.  My fiancé asked me how fast I was going and I told her that I was doing the speed limit which was 35mph.  So that cop and his partner came back to my car handed me back my license and registration and this time I got a reason why I was pulled over and he said to me that I wasn’t wearing a seat belt and my tail light was out and he was going to just give me a warning about the violation and went back to his car.  My wife said to me but you are wearing your seat belt and the taillight is not out because she had AutoZone put in the light for her that morning while I was at work.  I can remember my mother telling me that I have a voice and I have a choice to use or not before I could say something my wife told the cop that he just pulled us over because we were black.  I guess that day my voice was going to be used another day down the road because she said it all for me.  The cop had a look in his face like who is she to talk to me like that and glory to god he went back to his car and drove off.  My wife, child, and I went back home and she said that she has heard about it but never experienced it ever and I told her about the times I got pulled over for just being black.  That day we talked and I told her about my experience of having white people look at me differently because I’m not wearing my pants below my waistline.   How I’m still getting followed in the stores by white while people that look like them rob them blind.  I remember writing a blog back in the day called Young men dying due to gun violence that up on my website kenyoervinmedia.com.  It’s 2020 I’m seeing people peacefully protesting for equality and change and still getting hit tear gas and rubber bullets.  I know that I’m going to rub some people the wrong way by saying that some things have changed. Yes, things have changed; at least we are not hanging from trees anymore.  See part of that talk that I had with my mother when I was young that some people will look at you and think that you are ready to commit a crime or be scared of you because of the color of your skin.  Some people have already have put three strikes on you because your black and you’re a young black man and also that you are a smart black man at that.  I had a teacher in the second-grade who was white that told me that I would never graduate and I would be dead at the age of 25 and if I make it past that I would have a record as long as the Mississippi River.  Remember I wrote that my mother said that she never thought it would happen to me well my oldest child went through the same thing as I did.  She had a second-grade teacher that told her that she wasn’t smart and she would have to repeat the second grade.  I said that same thing to my child as my mother did to me so many years ago.  My child finished the second grade with the highest grade in her second-grade class and today she’s moving on to the seventh grade and has dreams to work in the media field.  Let me get back in track, it’s really hard to watch the video of Mr. George Floyd’s death by cop.  It’s really hard to watch any of those videos because all I see is me.  Being a black man in America where it’s already hard in 2020 to just survive with the covid19 going around.  I hear this from other black men and women that I want to live to see my kids graduate from high and college and get married, having kids, and playing with my grandkids.  Yes, I have a skin color on me that I have no control over and I thank god that he has blessed me with a family and kids that I love to death but I shouldn’t be scared to leave my house just to get some milk for my kids’ cereal.   To finish out let me say yes as a race we are tired of the same things that have been going on for years and nothing has changed beside us not being hung from trees anymore.  I see with the protests that the police and taking a knee with young black men and women and my only question is when all of this dies down will those same police officers go back to their ways of treating black men and women like trash.  Will they right this time.  I know change just doesn’t happen in just one day, it that’s years.  But, are we years too late for that change, is it too late to recover from the pain that our ancestors went through during slavery.  I know the question I’m seeing a lot of is from white people, what can we do to help?  I had one of my teachers reach out to me on blackout Tuesday saying that she “knows it’s a bad day to reach out with the blackout but I just saw your name pop up in my feed and I wanted you to know that I’m thinking of you.  I love all of my students and you have been on my brain.” I told her that I’m doing good and I’m at home trying not to lose my mind over what’s going on and Thank you for thinking about me.  Now she didn’t have to do that but I appreciate that.  Now today is a new day and my faith in the Lord is telling me to forgive but I can’t forget the pain and feeling of mistrust from the police.   Someday maybe not in my lifetime young black men will be looked at the same way as white men and women equal.  To Mr. George Floyd’s daughter GIGI yes your daddy has changed the world.  There a lot of people that have their eyes open now but will they continue to hear us.