A Light Switch People: How I Feel Sometimes about My Race

WARNING: I tried to keep it to myself. It didn’t work. If you take offense, I will not apologize. So please don’t expect me to. Read at your own risk.

I would love to see how some of us “know it all” people would fair as President of the United States while being black at the same time. The level of disrespect is uncanny. President Barack Obama is the President of the United States of America and not the President of the Un-United States of Black People, the Un-United Community of Black People, the Un-United League of Black Men, or the Un-United Sons of Black Fatherless Households. Just because he’s black and in a position of power doesn’t mean he has free reign to speak solely to the plights of black people nor does it mean he has the capability to know all and see every single injustice that happens in the millions of communities within this great United States, and yes, I say great because it is and I do not want to live in any other country. Rise and Shine!

Am I upset about Ferguson? Yes. Do I personally believe justice was served? No. But a jury has made a decision. The law, common and modern, is not always fair. We know that race relations are alive and well here. They are thriving in every country on every continent. But that’s why we have local legislation and voting in place. It’s not enough to vote on a presidential election when the President doesn’t govern our immediate communities. Why don’t people realize that? I get so irritated by this crab in a barrel and sense of entitlement mentality I face everyday with our people–this sort of light switch support.
I often hear, “Kandace, these youth are out of control!” “It’s the police’s fault” “It’s the media’s fault” “It’s Obama’s fault” “It’s the teacher’s fault” “It’s the neighborhood’s fault” But we are the neighborhood!

Thee audacity to demand our President beat the streets and march with us, when we won’t do it ourselves for so many non-municipal murders that take place and haven’t scratched the surface of national news. But when it involves policing the police with our cell phones at the ready, our voice-overs and weird camera angles, and something highly unfavorable is captured, light switch on. We are a seriously flawed people, black, white and in-between.

I don’t remember this type of scorn for former President Bill Clinton. But what I do recall is a good deal of blacks saying, “He’s as close to a black President as we’ll get?” But we showed him respect.

But when history is made, not just because President Obama is black, but because he made us believe that anything is possible again, that though the battle was hard fought and much work was further ahead, change is possible. A black man, well traveled, Senator, living on the South Side of Chicago, a Harvard Law graduate, a constitutional law professor was elected President of the United States of America, twice. How amazing is that! And the minute he can’t do what we think he should be doing for us, light switch off. We verbally accuse him of not being “black enough” we tear him down. We switch sides. We tell him, “He ain’t shit!” Well, I say to those who’ve personally expressed this sentiment to me, from my mouth to your eyes and ears, you ain’t shit either. That man, my current President, is an ideal. I can’t imagine the multitudes of underhanded politics he has to deal with day in and day out. He’s in a fight all on his own and the way he remains as poised as possible is impressive. Don’t think that because he’s President he doesn’t have to deal with race relations. It didn’t magically disappear when he took office. But it’s on a level that you and I will likely never see nor comprehend.

Now, whether we agree with everything he does or not, again, I don’t ever recall national media pressure for Bill Clinton to march for Amadou Diallo and Patrick Dorismond, or Former President Bush for Timothy Stansbury Jr. or Sean Bell. But when President Obama gets in office, we want him to be our personal representative who we played ball with once upon a time. Newsflash: He is not the homie! Shame on us who think he should be.

Progress has been made. I see change. But will we ever be satisfied?

Does anyone remember reading about the New York Draft Riots? Or witnessing Watts? LA Riots? And now Ferguson– All about race, but the latter three stemmed from a single police incident, resisting arrest, and each officer involved used excessive or deadly force. The officers involved were found justified for whatever reasons in a court of law. What I found most fascinating about the riots is that more people died than helped, thousands were injured and none of them had to be. Rioting didn’t solve a thing. It destroyed businesses and communities and only antagonized a larger problem.

We are making a mockery of ourselves and blaming everyone but ourselves for it. It’s displaced aggression. Our ancestors would be disappointed. Dr. King’s spirit is likely vexed over this entire situation. All the rights we’ve been afforded, because once upon a time we were thought to be second class citizens, we’ve squandered.

And yet, somehow, I fear, the worst is yet to come people, and we’re so blinded by 140 character tweets, meme posts, hard beats and weak lyrics to see it. Comprehension is lacking in the black community. And though this country may have been built on the backs of slaves, we’re still not free. Because in order to be such, we have to know what it truly means.

Often times, we are our own Injustice System.

**If we keep fighting each other and rioting, thinking we’re invincible and bigger than militia, wittier than the law, we too will be destroyed and everything our ancestors struggled to achieve for us will be in vain. We have to learn to use the same tools to our advantage. Knowledge is power. But we have to want it. Sadly, sometimes I don’t think that we do. **

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