“To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage”.
“I’m a black man in America so I always feel there’s a target on me”.
The Walk into the Future blog has provided me with a creative outlet where I can share my thoughts, leadership philosophy and life adventures. It puts a smile on my face when I look back at this journey and see the quality of my writing and content improve daily. Never thought an electronic journal would become such a huge part of my daily life. I smile every time someone follows the blog or sends me a comment.
Well, I did not smile so much today!
The battle we fight daily as black men in America has been playing out on every major TV network first with Ahmaud Arbery (killed jogging), then Breonna Taylor (killed sleeping) and now George Floyd (killed while handcuffed). Think about that last sentence for a minute!
I know there are others out there who have faced the wrath of America but there was not video evidence of what happened to them. Black America has been hoping and praying these incidents would stop and we can fully engage in the American dream—good thing I am not holding my breath—this never seems to end! Why not? I know this is not a simple question to answer but it needs to get answered soon.
Got several text messages from my friends to check on me to see how I am doing with all of this. Thank you for thinking of me and reaching out!
Think it hits closer to home with my friends because they know how much I am out and about with my running program. Seeing a black man get killed while out for a run highlighted our plight to my friends—yes, that could have been me. I have had to reassure my mom, brothers, and friends that I am doing everything I can to stay safe when I am out for a run. Sad to say I must think about being able to make it home safely when I go out for a run. How many who read my blog have these thoughts when you go for a run? Life is weird, huh?
My running outfits are selected to provide me with the most visibility as possible. The extreme bright, loud, and sometimes fluorescent colors are used so everyone will know I am not hiding anything or trying to blend in. I want to be visible and remembered by everyone who sees me running through their neighborhood. I also make a point to speak, wave, and smile at everyone I encounter because I do not want them to feel threatened. Surprisingly, most do not wave back but that is not the point of my actions. I smile and wave whenever I see a police car drive by too. Cannot be seen as a threat while exercising!
(Do I look like a runner?)
I also make a point to carry my retired Air Force identification card when I am on my runs in case I encounter police. I have found police are less threatened when they realize they are talking with someone who has served the country.
When driving I always show my military identification if I get pulled over for any reason first, then I provide whatever identification is requested. Please know both hands remain on the steering wheel and then I explain in a clear, distinct voice what I am doing if ordered to produce anything else. I am sure most black people follow this same process to avoid misunderstandings that leads to…you know!
Being a black man in America is exhausting! I have a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, a Master’s degree in Counseling/Human Relations, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Air Force retiree identification and recognized nationally for authentic leadership development.
Now, imagine what black men without my credentials must do to survive in America. The insanity must stop!
NOTE: I will get back to my normal tone next week—thanks for allowing me to vent.
“I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color”.
“Usually, when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they are angry, they bring about change”.
Time for change—let’s get out and vote, remain vigilant and demand change—we must do better!
How can you help?
- Start a voter registration campaign
- Sign a petition
- Stay vigilant