I am probably closer to your mother’s age than yours. I lived through the struggles of the Freedom Rides and the push for Equal Rights, tangentially, as a black, female teen. In a way, I was removed from those very real struggles as my father worked three jobs and my mother bootstrapped her way from working in “white folk’s kitchens” to being an executive secretary for the US Air Force. I guess my mom and dad were too busy trying to obtain the very real and tangible American Dream, living and owning a home in a middle class, white neighborhood, sending me to private schools to ensure I achieved a decent, reliable education, to buy my dad a brand new cadillac every two or three years, to slow down and participate in MLK’s and the majority of other blacks “struggle”.
I am fortunate. Although my parent’s had to deal with racism in their quest to own real estate, they never stopped in their pursuit of their dreams. I am not trying to tell you that your fears and experiences are wrong. I am telling you that there was a time in America when blacks were able to thrive and survive. M grandfather, my father’s father, owned his home in the 1930's, 40's, 50's, as a Frigidaire employee. My great grandfather, half American Indian and black, also owned his own home as well as rental property in the great state of Ohio, aka as the little Kentucky, at least in my family.
The threat to young black males has exacerbated since the passage of the Equal Right’s Amendment and the epic fight of black, brown and whites advocating for true equality in America. Obviously, there has been a reach back to the days of yore, you know back to the early 1900's when whites pillaged, killed and burned black homes as well as men, women and children. Apparently, after WWII, an unspoken truce transpired and blacks were no longer the greatest evil in the land. Perhaps the fact that many young men of both races died in that conflict reflected our similarities as people instead of our perceived differences.
To be sure, the modern media has worked overtime to demonize our race and especially our young men. My son, now deceased at age 32, felt extremely comfortable in Sweden and a few other European countries, than he ever felt in our home in Southern California. Respectfully, to all the young men that have lost their lives a the hands of the police, haters or the fearful, my son did not die violently. But he was extremely well-versed on how his blackness was, everyday, a life threatening, incurable malady.
Therefore, as an aging woman looking at death in the near future, I respectfully request that you use your access to the media to make a stand, to choreograph your saga, to make a difference. Please, please remember there are good people in the world, people from every tribe and race. Part of the struggle that we are all experiencing at this time is the perception of that “there isn’t enough!”. It’s sad to clearly see that mankind must undergo cataclysmic struggles, like devastating wars, to understand just how precious and necessary every person is. Personally, I’d love to see a band of rogue aliens descent on planet earth just to see how quickly we would have to unite for earth to survive. Instead, I have to intuitively experience the needless ravaging, once again, of our people.