I was not planning on writing this. I wanted to remain above the fray. I wanted to write a blog about a slow return to normal. But I can no longer remain silent. I have to add "My two cents".
Most visitors to my site will not know what I mean when I say, "My two cents". So to all of them, here's a brief description of what it means when you hear the term. My two cents, and some word combination containing the phrase, is usually used to preface a statement when a speaker would like to introduce his or her humble opinion on a matter. It can also come at the end of a statement. The listener is usually given those "two cents" whether they were solicited or not.
I find it quite ironic, being a black man from Baltimore City, that before giving my opinion on matters involving racism it must be justified. I am not a politician or a spokesman for any cause. Contrary to popular belief, there is not a spokesman for black people. Some white readers might wonder at my use of the term black people; I still haven't quite warmed up to the term African-American and some black readers might take issue with that. By now you all see where this is going and might not be interested in hearing my two cents and I can understand that.
So much has been said about race and race relations in America and around the globe recently and without meaning to offend, it's been being said by mostly white people. A white friend even challenged me over the fact that I didn't blackout my profile pic when called upon to do so by all those kind white folks that only have my best interest in mind. She even went as far as to say, "I am doing this for you!" Don't get me wrong! I am moved by the all the kind gestures and acts of solidarity but unfortunately, I have become numb to the acts of brutality. I feel rage when I see all the videos depicting acts of aggression carried out by the police on unarmed and usually black suspects. Nothing but pure rage. Even writing this I know that some of my white friends will point out and rightly so that police brutality is not limited to the black community. My argument about statistics usually get drowned out in their ears by their own statistics on "Black on Black" crime.
I don't think that any of them have ever seen white men choked to death or shot to death by the police only to watch justice go unserved. I could be wrong but I am just a black man from Baltimore that is adding his two cents. I have been stopped and harassed more by the Police in the USA than I have been abroad and I've been living abroad for more than half of my life! That doesn't mean the police in Europe are less violent but you can't ask a European about that though. They too have had their eyes shut for a long time. Despite recent events, I've always considered the police a friend and helper. I once said as much to a Turkish friend of mine whose only reply was, "That's because you are American". I could and will probably write a book one day on being as west as one can be and being a minority in Europe. To be "African-American in Europe is quite the experience. But that's not what I'm writing about today.
Let me add my two cents this way. The video of George Floyd's death at the hands of public servants sworn to serve and protect was horrific, tragic, and a whole list of adjectives that I couldn't possibly list. To me it was heartbreaking. Heartbreaking on many levels that just don't seem to end. It's hearbreaking to hear it being politicized by both parties in the USA. It's been heartbreaking watching black activist attack each other while white mainstream media hijacks the moment. It's heartbreaking knowing that somebody somewhere will read this and wonder about my agenda when all I am doing is trying to add my two cents.
Most call me naive for thinking that this tragedy will be a catalyst to bring about change in America. Well, I am American and it's been said recently that being a black American isn't anything to be proud of. You can call it whatever you like. I am still and will continue to be happy to be a citizen of our great imperfect nation. Yes, black lives matter, all lives matter, and all that noise. In this face of the tragic death that the world witnessed on video that argument seems small to me. It's a silly game of semantics being played at this particular point in time but I was born and will die black when the media and the activists have moved on and found a new cause to hashtag. I've said this once and I'll say it again America first does not mean other nations last. As people, we still have a lot to learn. Some will dismiss this blog as the ramblings of an angry black man from Baltimore and I don't mind. I just felt like adding my two cents.