I Mean, You Would Choose to Be Unarmed in A Gun Fight Too, Right?
Against impossible odds, you and I are alive.
We triumphed as a lone soldier in an army of millions to find the one way in—and we did. We exited our first known home through an impossibly tiny door into a foreign land unscathed. We grew in age and size navigating unfamiliar worlds from playgrounds to prom dances, classrooms to dorm rooms riddled with threats, diseases and harms of all sorts; victorious. Impossible odds.
By all accounts, we are superheroes, thwarting every proverbial foe life throws our way at every turn; impossible odds. We’re here, so Darwin’s theories of natural selection and survival of the fittest seem to have been on the money. Impossible odds.
…But Darwin’s studies with insects and animals don’t account for human creations: malice, -isms, or hate. New impossible odds.
See, humans have the gift and curse of perspective. On one side, we can see life in ways you’d call “normal” — being safe, educated, content, and productive; prospering. On the other side, you’ve got to face an uncomfortable truth: “Survival of the fittest” is not naturally applied to us.
“Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.” — Jay-Z
The data shows:
They’re the most likely to be unemployed and the most likely to be unemployable. They’re the most likely to be pulled over, detained and searched by police, more likely to be suspected of criminal activity, the most likely to be incarcerated in their lifetime, the most likely to be unfairly sentenced, and if they survive their ‘most likely to be killed in the hands of police’ superlative, they are the most likely to be labeled unemployable after time served because…timed served. They’re the most likely to start poor and remain in a low economic status, and the most likely to become a poor adult even if they grew up rich. They’re the most likely to never be taught by an educator who mirrors them, most likely to be disciplined in school, and the most likely to lack a drive to seek higher education for education or profession. They’re the most likely to be a victim of gentrification / ‘urban renewal’ and the most likely to experience homelessness in their lifetime. They’re the most likely to be a victim of exclusionary policies, selective covenants, and antiquated laws and the most likely to be overlooked in drafting newer, fairer ones. They’re the most likely to age without mentors or role models, and the most likely to be raised in a household with no father (figure) present. They’re the most likely to be depicted negatively in media broadcasts across the country, encouraging agreement with their stereotypes: ‘scary, intimidating, and distant, with a propensity towards violence.’… …and still, Society preposterously expects them to not ruffle Its feathers and live freely with zeal, passion and ‘normalcy’ on their way to their ‘most likely to have an early death.’ They are unique by every measure.
They are The Black Man; alive by impossible intentionally impossible odds. We are brutishly demanded to believe in a bright future unsupported by our present darkness and then punished for expressing our despair in disbelief. The Black Man is in a gunfight unarmed, scolded for not selecting a weapon we were excluded from accessing, and told “Don’t lose.”
In the words of James Baldwin: “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”
Darwin’s theory works best on the animals of a species that wrestled against the natural conditions they were all forced to face. Despite the statistical miracles of conception, the trials of birth, the cuts, bruises, and stitches from school days, and every conceivable, unnatural, manmade, malicious threat from The Middle Passage to lynch mobs to redlining to Starbucks cop calls berating him, tearing at his hope, The Black Man still exists and he yet strives. His survival against impossible odds and then added hateful odds is a strength normal perspectives do not know.
If only Darwin could see us now.