How long will we allow people who don’t care about what happens to African-Americans vilify us? How long will the media portray people of color as anything less than human? I don’t know about you but I’m fed up with the notion that we have to behave a certain way in order to be accepted by others who don’t look like us, care about us, understand us, or even care to learn anything about us. Does this give one person the right to act up and act out? No it doesn’t. However, it does mean that no one has the right to label us as inhumane or as ‘thugs’- the new code word for “Nigga.”
When Seattle Seahawks football player Richard Sherman was interviewed by Erin Andrews (a White female reporter) almost 2 years ago after the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, the world was aghast because she appeared frightened by his language and adrenaline during the interview. After the interview, he was quickly and unjustly labeled. Wait a minute – a man who is intelligent, articulate, and educated is judged by the reaction of a White woman. Because of what transpired, many Whites labeled him a thug and even African-Americans decided to align their thoughts and opinions on the side of the White masses.
Less than human
The recent protests in Baltimore lends itself to another discussion. What was supposed to be a protest against police brutality escalated at one point to looting and rioting by many citizens. Under no circumstances do I condone looting or rioting, however I do have a problem with many in the media calling people ‘thugs.’ Forget the human being – let’s label them as being less than.
If I had the opportunity, I would like to ask the same media the following questions: what do you call people who constantly use their power to oppress the least and left out? What do you call people who refuse to provide adequate resources to schools and neighborhoods? What do you call people who are more inclined to lock up African-Americans rather than develop programs to help them and empower them? I could go on but I won’t.
The media as well as so many people who like to label people without getting to know them should have some moral reformation take place in their life. What do I mean by moral reformation? It’s the ability to love people, respect people, to undo injustice, and to uplift people. Whenever people are more concerned about themselves and how much they can get for themselves, a moral dilemma occurs.
Without listening to the pain of those who have been victimized by systems, unfair judgment and categorization happens. How can things ever get better? Better yet, how can moral reformation occur?
What happened in Baltimore should spark some discussion. A discussion that seeks to expose the problem instead of trivializing the symptoms. Those who are in positions of leadership must get to know the people they represent. That means walking the neighborhood and talking with people, not about a vote, but about the person, their pain, their concern, and their neighborhood. We can’t stop there. People in the community must value their community through cleanup actions and community empowerment just to name a few. Now, let me drop this in your spirit. Races and cultures must come together. Collectively, we can make a difference.
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is an activist, speaker, writer, author, life coach, and host of The Sinclair Grey Show heard on Mondays at 2p.m. on WAEC Love 860am (iHeart Radio and Tune In). Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @drsinclairgrey.