It’s a hard truth to face, but as a Black male, I realize that I could very well be innocent of any type of criminal wrongdoing and yet be viciously beaten or shot to death.
The racist stereotype of the Black male as a criminal, violent, predatory thief is alive and well in the minds of folks. We are inundated with these tropes time and time again in the mass media, the outlet where most learn about other races they don’t encounter on a daily basis.
And what they are seeing is cause for mourning in and of itself.
Images of the violent Black male bombard us, and are seemingly trumping equally accessible portraits of the Black male who’s at Morehouse College with a 4.0, the brilliant young Black man who invented a new surgical procedure, the Black male who goes to work every day and gives to his family and church and the Black male who is respectful to himself and community. Add to that a prevalence in so-called Black-on-Black crime and the idea set forth is that the life of the Black male is worthless and he is to be feared and taken out cowboy stylel.
Even when the Black male has demonstrated you have no reason to feel threatened, bullets abound first and questions come later. Those fictional images have clearly reinforced the false in the minds of the paranoid and prejudiced. Should jurors to a case, such as the George Zimmerman trial, arrive with racist stereotypes looming, it’s questionable if in their decision-making is tainted. Case and point: George Zimmerman, whom many in our community feel was racially profiling Trayvon Martin, has walked free, leaving the slain teen’s supporters grasping for answers and actionable steps to prevent a future tragedy.
How many more families have to bury loved ones before change comes about? Repentance has fallen short.
Let us take a look into some senseless shootings and beatings of black boys and men. As you read, think about how those racist stereotypes are still alive and working.