We save people and things that we believe need our help; dolphins, abused children, earth, and rare species. With only so many hours in a day, there are limits to the causes we can support, so choosing people/causes/things to save requires deep thought and reflection. All over Facebook, for example, there is the ice bucket challenge for supporting research on ALS, on TV there are marathons to raise money for cancer and other diseases, and every day it seems there is another 5K race to stop the spread of something.
We direct our energies toward helping people and things that matter to us.
I possess the level of passion about people of color like others have about water, trees, dolphins, spotted owls, and such. Those passionate people have implored that I see the connection between my daily life as a man of color and our ecosystem. All of life is interconnected, they argue. I get it. In my life though, navigating race, racism, privilege, and white supremacist power, have consumed lots of my passionate energies.
My tiny social peeve about having to retort mostly white environmentalists quickly grew into a form of “stalactite(d)” angry black man rage. I had to always bite my tongue when I wanted them to summon their dolphin passions to saving Black lives.
An unusual juxtaposition in a society that has moved to making all oppression and pain equalized, and therefore, out of bound to make any comparisons or arranging one species over another. I have struggled, emotionally, metaphorically, and actually under the weight of knowing that Black and Brown bodies is despised in a society. Why do we overvalue one pigment over another?
Every day it seems that I learn of another Black boy, woman of color, or child of color shot, killed, threatened, or maimed. As a person of color in the Northern United States of America, I live with a domestic form of –well, I can’t think of any other word to better capture how I really feel, so I will just say it—terror.
Why begrudge the environmentalists, the mainstream washed side of my brain retorts, when I live in a free democratic society and could dedicate my time and energy any way that I so pleased? Hard to argue with that logic, isn’t it?
But in my mind, the lives of black boys are like dolphins trapped in underwater nets. The net of indifference, injustice, and hatred. Is there any reason for an off duty police officer to shoot a black man 17 times? Even the racist trolls on the internet can’t twist the facts of this shooting into some understandable social framework.
The problem is that each time I tried to turn my energetic gaze toward other things in the world, I was slapped in the face with the conundrum of being black in the United States.
I am reminded about my blackness at mostly every step of my life. And if the only solution is to deny the hatred spewed at us for our ethnocultural identities as mere rants from cowardly trolls on the internet, or to endure the sublime, primly reprimand for not saving the dolphins, then count me out.
I need your help with saving another mammal.