Dark Raving Mad
Being a Black man in America has always been scary. The United States has used us as slaves and turned a blind eye to or advocated us being publicly slaughtered. The Federal Bureau of Investigations has executed plots against our communities that sought to destroy our leaders and suppress rebellion. Law enforcement agencies have sicked dogs on us, disproportionately accosted us, used excessively violent force on us and continue to murder us while unarmed. Yet, we’re the most suspicious and threatening demographic in the US.
The diabolical practice of stigmatizing the most vulnerable and victimized groups in America has unfortunately worked. Arizona state governor, Jan Brewer, infamously stuck her finger in Obama’s face because she thought, “he was a little threatening”.
An 18 year-old, unarmed, Black man was shot and killed by two security guards in Dekalb County Georgia. The security guards worked for an apartment complex down the street from where the victim was shot and were way out of their jurisdiction. They claimed to have been investigating a “suspicious” vehicle full of Black people in front of the victim’s house.
Four white cops shot a Black ex-cop, Howard Morgan, 28 times. Then Morgan was sentenced to 40 years in prison after he was released from the hospital for trying to kill the officers. The accounts by the police officers state that Morgan fired first. Even if that’s true, they shot him 28 times. You have to be really threatened by someone to shoot them 28 times. Black men aren’t bosses at the end of a video game.
That’s just a recollection of the last month or so, and I didn’t even mention the fact the Trayvon Martin case has only just begun its lengthy and trying journey. The case has brought a lot of attention to the undercurrent of racism that flows through this country. As a result, I’ve been feeling more threatened by White people than ever before (while gaining an ever-increasing respect for our ancestors). All of these blatant threats to the lives of Black men has had me feeling targeted and vulnerable. I don’t like that feeling.
So I decided to go to a rave.
I figured that my emotional and spiritual homeostasis could be rejuvenated by some racially heterogeneous wild times. So I hit up my friends and told them about a rave in Atlanta with a “mixed crowd”. The crew was down, and we hit the club.
When we walked into the party, it was exactly what I had imagined. There were people of every race raging at full capacity. Black, White and Asian were all jumping to the sophisticated sounds of Deadmau5 and Skrillex. The atmosphere was intense and euphoric, there wasn’t a care in the world (partially because the drinks were dirt cheap). We went in until the rave shut down, and we headed to my friend Ricardo’s car to get some Waffle House. I looked at the back seat and only saw one dude. I turned to Ricardo and said, “We’re missing Ben son”. Somehow, we had left Ben in the club. Just then, Ben walked up to the car, opened the door, placed a drunk white girl on the seat and sat down. Ricardo turned around and yelled, “What the hell Ben!”. Ben, a theology major, put his hands up and said, “Listen, this girl’s friends left her, she’s drunk, and she just needs a ride to campus”. Mind you, this girl is completely incoherent and probably couldn’t recall her name if we asked her.
I asked Ben what her name was. He didn’t know, but he had no intention of sealing the deal with this girl. He really just wanted to do a good thing. Ricardo shook his head and said,
“I’m sorry man, we can’t drive through the city after a huge rave with four Black guys and a passed out white girl. I’m not getting pulled over”
I cosigned and shook my head. Black men have a long history of being thrown under the bus just because a white woman was simply around them.
Ben tried to debate the issue, but we were determined to avoid the risk. So we lifted the shitfaced girl out of the car and placed her gently at the front of the club with some people who seemed nice. When we got back in the car, Ben sighed and said, “I really don’t fuck with ya’ll right now. That was messed up”. Maybe it was, but not more messed up than the racial climate of America.
And just like that, my state of blissful ignorance was gone. The rave was simply a brief intermission from racially tense America. We couldn’t even be good late-night samaritans without assessing the risk we’d be taking as Black men. Hopefully, as we bring more attention to social injustices against our people, the risk will reduce to some degree. Our harsh and difficult circumstances must be made public knowledge in order for us to properly convey the gravity of the situation. Habitually targeting a specific demographic with violence and oppression can adversely impact the perspectives and behavior of all people. It can lead to a racial group’s demise, put you on trial for 2nd degree murder, and it can leave you drunk and stranded at a closed club. We all stand to benefit from a withdrawal from ignorance.
Realize where the true threats really lie.