From 12 to 50 it's assumed we're packing, assumed that like the Hulk or zombies we possess superhuman, virtually unstoppable destructive power. So where an average citizen may disagree, even argue and berate a police officer, treating them as the public servant that they indeed are, a black man, if he wishes to continue living, must channel his ancestors. His slave ancestors. Today, in a world of black presidents, electric cars and talking iPhones, it's so hard to convince young black men, like my 13-year-old son, that if a police officer merely perceives you are a lethal threat, he may shoot you dead. So what I have to drill into him, since I want him to continue to live, is to listen to his Guardian Slave and be preternaturally polite and respectful no matter how ugly and unreasonable the policeman's demand. Then at least he'll probably only be tased.
The situation at Lincoln University and President Jennings' comments should give us pause and force us to reconsider the messages that we give to young women about rape and sexual assault. Are we supportive, or do we blame the victim? Do our college and university policies protect the survivors (in this case, women), or do they merely protect the institution?
Eight years, eight cities: Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Bangkok, Berlin, Rome, Tel Aviv, Cape Town and Sydney. And what do I have to show for all that time spent living outside the U.S.? Here are some highlights: at least twice as much romantic drama (and comedy) in half the time I spent in New York City, at least two books, and at least five valuable lessons in love and lust.
The news accounts in recent weeks are tragically similar, from Los Angeles to Staten Island to Ferguson. Unarmed black men killed by police. But four years before anyone knew where Ferguson was located on a map, there was the fatal shooting of Danroy Henry Jr., known to his friends and family as "DJ."
The politics of respectability in the black community may not only hinder us from acting and engaging in the constructive protest, lobbying and collective action needed to create a more just society, as it has with respect to the Ferguson protests, but it may also prevent us from simply being and living freely.