Dear America, We Know You Don’t Believe Us
“Faith” is the belief in something that is unseen, and the persistence of hope in scenarios involving the unseen. Faith is intangible, and as important as faith is to us all, its equally discounted in times when tangible evidence is needed. We seem to know that the wind exists, but most people cannot provide a logical explanation as to how we know that the wind exists, or even its source. It’s theory, which is what I would describe as a hypothesis that was provided by faith. Still unproven, yet commonly supported by a large enough sample population.
Dear America, we know you don’t believe us. It’s easier for you to be raised naive, in believing that Easter is about the Easter Bunny; that Christmas is about Santa Claus; that the Groundhog can predict the winter; or that the Dallas Cowboys really are America’s team. It’s easy and it’s convenient, teaching that Jesus loves us, and that bad people go to hell, and that in teaching that naive logic to children equally makes us adults innocent. Have you ever seen a parent’s reaction to you telling their daughter or son that Santa isn’t real? You’ve ruined Christmas forever. But this isn’t about holidays, this is about conditions.
We know you believe in the Elf Factory at the North Pole, but America, you don’t believe us when we say we’re oppressed. You don’t believe that racism has built a system deeply rooted in America’s society and institutions. You don’t believe in the roadblocks we face in our careers, in our educations, in our healthcare, our families, and in our outcomes. You roll with loaded dice called privilege, but you don’t believe that either. You believe we should all be held to equal circumstances, except that’s not how it plays out. You’re the child on the playground who makes up the rules to the game as they go — mainly as they lose — so that despite how good anyone is, you win every time.
You don’t believe we’re punished for the color of our skin. Instead, you cover your eyes — just like Lady Justice — and say “I believe in the discretion of the justice system”. You don’t believe us when we say that when we’re pulled over by police, we’re fearful of abuse. You don’t believe in profiling — that we all seem to “fit a description”. You don’t believe our appearance is innocent until guilty, or on any given day, is innocent altogether.
You believe we often choose to be poor. You believe in “pull yourself up by the bootstrap”, but don’t believe that not everyone is even wearing boots. You don’t believe we work hard. You don’t believe that, even in one-parent households sacrifices are made for the betterment of our children, for them to understand how to work hard, be successful, and to be humble. You believe if you can, we should, too; but equally, you desire exclusivity, and don’t believe the footsteps in the sand laid by you and yours should be followed, or passed by us and ours.
But, America, why don’t you believe us?
Why are our grievances and our plights looked at solely as complaints? Why our protests portrayed as riots? Why do you translate hate into every reactionary scenario? Why don’t Black lives matter?
If faith is the belief in things unseen, what is the disbelief in things seen, perceived, and analyzed?
Why is being illogical the first choice when it comes to looking into the Black American Experience? Is it comforting to ignore the systems at play? Is it comforting to know Black students are punished at higher rates in schools, suspended at a doubled rate for hair and appearance; that such punishment is reflective of the school-to-prison pipeline? Is it logical to fill the prison system with drug offenders convicted of marijuana-related crimes, while legalizing that same marijuana and developing state economies based off of it? It is comforting to fill up the prisons with such offenders, while leaving murderers, negligent cops, and student athlete sex offenders free? We don’t expect an answer because you don’t believe us.
Dear America, do you believe our contributions to the United States of America to be substantial? Or does “our tax dollars”-related debates trump all conversations, while brushing away those of corporate fraud, mishandling, and most importantly: outsourcing? You don’t believe you’re being tricked by people who look like you, but you believe we’re the reason for widespread economic struggle; responsible for the downfall of the free world. You don’t believe we’ve ever made great strides on our own. You forgot you bombed “Black Wall Street”, so it’s hard to believe in Black economic wealth in even the slightest possibility.
Dear America, we know you don’t believe us.
Your innocence is also subjective, and wears a cherry red ribbon on top because it’s told from the perspective of a parent, speaking to a child.
You don’t believe you’re the problem, or remotely part of it. You don’t believe we’re educated. You don’t believe there is diversity, even within our population. You choose to believe the outspoken, self-proclaimed Black leaders who themselves are distant from contemporary Black experience. You seek, instead, the “Token”. You don’t believe our attire is separate from our worth. You believe Black Culture to be a self-swallowing serpent, and the cause for the Black plight in our communities. You don’t believe our love for ourselves — our Pro-Blackness — is separate from Anti-White sentiment. You don’t believe you should be prohibited from saying “nigger”, yet you want to say it for inclusion. “Nigger” doesn’t scare us. You don’t believe the Egyptians were Black, nor that Lucy was, too. So, you don’t believe you’re influenced — just in Human experience — by Black figures and Black history.
You don’t believe we’re alike, and in focusing more on our differences than our similarities you’ve silenced, erased, and made us as invisible to American image as the wind. You can’t prove through logic that the wind, as a tangible thing exists, so you struggle to describe how White America has put its hand into Black communities, and primarily Black pain.
You don’t see how you smear and antagonize Black victims, and how you create heroes of White suspects. You wrote “Chicago” for that exact reason, and romanticize O.J. Simpson because of his wealth, his sell-out story, and because he bamboozled you — the same way Zimmerman did, and many, many other freed murderers did: in a court room, with a acclaimed attorneys, money, and with a spin-off story.
Dear America, will you believe us when we arm ourselves? You didn’t believe in the mission of the Black Panthers, so you deemed them terrorists, but you believe in the mission of the Klu Klux Klan so, they’re still here. But will you believe us when our sick-and-tired nature becomes sick-and-tired activities. Will you jump at every threat of reciprocity? When Black Lives Matter became a movement, you pushed that Blue Lives Matter, while hundreds of Black and Brown minorities continued to be executed by police, who were later acquitted of any charges. You believe that any negativity in reaction to such acquittals is a hate crime towards police.
Dear America, we know you don’t believe us. It’s comforting for you to fight, not for equality or human dignity in your country, but for the continued naivety and innocence you are rewarded. The same naivety and innocent you push unto your children, teaching them that an old white man with 8 magical, flying reindeer can swoop throughout American airspace, break and enter into millions of homes, dropping gifts off. Gifts that were made at an outsourced sweatshop in one of the most formidable weather environments possible, while writing and receiving letters from minors and labeling them as “naughty” or “nice”. Your innocence is also subjective, and wears a cherry red ribbon on top because it’s told from the perspective of a parent, speaking to a child.
Whatever greatness is being strove for, just know, America, we don’t believe you.
“Dear America, We Don’t Believe You” is a free-written creative essay in reaction to the July 5, 2016 death of Alton Sterling, along with the other 558 victims of police-related shootings. While many officers have been charged and taken to trial, it remains by minorities to be a staple of the U.S. Justice system that such acts — happening to unarmed Black victims — go without punishment, and are highly applauded by various White support groups in the country. While there were 558 deaths in 2016, there are hundreds of thousands of others, many of which are never heard, and never seen.