The World According to Humphrey

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Archive for the ‘Race’ Category


Posted by humphreysworld on March 30, 2012

A hoodie is to blame for another black child dead. And Zimmerman is free.

No defensive wounds, no blood, no signs of struggle. And Zimmerman walks free.

Trayvon laid in a morgue unidentified because for society, all black faces look the same. And Zimmerman flies free.

He identifies as Hispanic so he couldn’t be racist. And Zimmerman breathes free.

His parents will never see Travyon graduate college, walk down the aisle, bring sons into the world. And Zimmerman loves free.

When will WE be free? When will I walk down the street and you not hold your purse a little closer. When will my brother be free? Free from persecution because of the color of his skin. When will our money be free? I make 56 cents to your dollar, yet my bills are the same, my degrees the same, my needs the same. When will our love be free? We can’t love and appreciate our community because to you it looks as though we’re in a gang, we’re too black or to loud or too fill-in-the-blank for you to approach. When will the next generation be free? When I have a family, will I have to tell him or her that they need to walk lightly, straighten their hair, speak right, act right, don’t run, don’t make eye contact, stay in school, stay true, be black but not too b lack, turn the other cheek, refuse to move to the back, move to the back, don’t go here, stay over there- when and where does it end?

I am a black woman in America, I don’t know what the future holds for me. Being black and female is how society has defined me as and I willingly accept that definition. But on some levels in means an uncertain future. I didn’t go through the struggles my parents and their parents before them did. In theory they went through that struggle so that I wouldn’t have to. And do I have a job? Yes. Do banks extend credit to me? Yes. Do I have the right to vote without being intimidated? Because of where I live, yes.

But am I free? Far from it.

The struggle for my brothers is so much harder. They portrayed as animals, locked away in cages and never given a fair shake. Unless they ‘marry up’, only then is their blackness is given a temporary pass. For women we are welfare mamas, whores, or ghetto chicks with attitudes.  But in the end it translates to be the same. Racism has defined us as a people and to this day those definitions in the minds of others has largely remained the same.

And the thing is, I want black babies– and I don’t want to be afraid to do so. But I cannot help but wonder what the future holds for them, when I am uncertain of what it holds for me. During my trip to Italy should I be concerned that I will be mistaken for a prostitute? Will I ever be promoted to a senior position in my organization? Can I attain the American dream and buy a house? Will that house be in the wrong (or right) neighborhood? It’s 2012, and black America is still trying to answer these questions.

When will WE be free?

And more importantly, when will YOU be free*? Free from the ignorance that tells you black is inherently evil, that a black or brown person got their job not on merit but because of the color of their skin (did you ever wonder if people ask the same of you?), free from the belief that the color of someone’s skin defines them as sinister and out to do no good (did you ever wonder if people look at war and corruption around the world and think the same about you?), free from the hate from the unknown, that you despise for no other reason than the fact that your reflection looks different from mine. I never wanted to be defined by  my race. But the world has made it so. It’s clear that your definition needs to change before we are both free. You free from hate and me and mine free from persecution.

Travyon’s case isn’t the first and he won’t be the last until our definition changes. I can’t/won’t/don’t want to change the color of my skin. And I’m certain you don’t want to change yours. Why should we? But what we CAN change is our definitions of each other, our systems of injustice that let this continue & the ignorance and hate that keeps it going strong.

* a friend sent me this clip, it speaks volumes.


Posted in Culture, Race | 1 Comment »

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