My mother told me as I was growing up that being a black man in this society was going to come with great difficulty. At first I wasn’t sure what she meant. I always thought that no matter what we were all treated as equals. I’m sitting here at 18 years old and now I finally understand what it is my mother was trying to say. Growing up in a neighbor that is no stranger to crime, I’ve always been looked down upon by people. I was expected to fail. They predicted my association with drugs, and concluded that my life would be one of utter turmoil and self-destruction. However this simply is not the case. My mother always told me that the color of my skin would bring obstacles throughout my life, and that in order to win the fight against discriminatory injustice, I’d have to show the world my mind and use my voice to make a change. I take those words to heart to this day. Yes I may be a person of color, but that color does not define my character. The color of my skin does not limit the amount of success that I am able to attain, nor does it gives anyone the right to treat me as though I am of little significance. I take pride in knowing that I am a well-spoken, and intellectual man of color. I do not “talk white”. I speak as though I’ve gotten an education. I don’t listen to “black people music”. I am an eclectic individual with a passion for the beautiful artistry within sounds. I am not a wild animal. I am a human being and I expect to be treated as such. As I sit here preparing to leave for college within a few days I cannot help but think about my many peers who have been shot down too young. I cannot help but wonder how many more of us are going to have to be stigmatized and branded as the typical criminal before this society begins to acknowledge not only our flaws but also our successes. I asked myself this question today. If they gunned me down, which photo would they use? Would they choose the image of me giving a public speech to young children about the importance of anti-violence, or would they use the photo of me dressed in an old t-shirt, worn sneakers, and angry look upon my face? Personally I am tired of being swept under the bus. I’m sick of being treated like racism isn’t an issue any longer. And really, I think that it’s about time for all of us to start making a change.
- I am a person of color. And I am proud to be one. (via cosmo-strosity)