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 less than human?
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.
New code word
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 “nigger.”
When Seattle Seahawks football player Richard Sherman was interviewed by Erin Andrews (a White female reporter) after the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers almost two years ago, 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.
A man who is intelligent, articulate, and educated is judged by the reaction of a White woman. Because of what transpired, many Whites and some African-Americans labeled him a thug. Why? Because many of them are on the payroll of companies that say it’s palatable to talk about the actions of African-Americans, but don’t you dare speak out against the actions of Whites.
Whoever signs the paycheck has some control of what a person can say. No longer is one able to voice their personal opinion when it doesn’t go along with the views of the organization.
Questions to media
The protests in Baltimore led to another discussion. Protests against police brutality escalated to looting and rioting. Under no circumstances do I condone looting or rioting. However, I do have a problem with many in the media calling people “thugs.”
I would like to ask the same media the following questions: what do you call people who constantly uses 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?
People who like to label people without getting to know them need moral reformation take place in their lives. “Moral reformation” is the ability to love and respect people, to undo injustice, and to uplift people. Whenever people are more concerned about themselves and what 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? How can moral reformation occur?
What happened in Baltimore should spark a discussion that seeks to expose the problem instead of trivializing the symptoms. Those 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 people, their pain, their concerns, and their neighborhood.
People in communities must value themselves through cleanup actions and community empowerment, to name a few activities. Races and cultures must come together. Collectively, we can make a difference.
The time to dismiss name-calling is now. The time to uplift people through words must start today. No more giving people permission to name-call, disrespect, or even demean our brothers and sisters. No one should participate in this action and think it’s okay.
Steve Maraboli in his book “Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience,” said, “We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.”
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is an activist, speaker, writer, author, life coach, and host of The Sinclair Grey Show heard on Mondays at 2pm on WAEC Love 860am (iHeart Radio and Tune In). Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @drsinclairgrey.