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A Open Letter to Young Black Men

    An Open Letter to Young Black Men of America 

    Contributor: Chakara Conyers

    As Zimmerman celebrates his ‘not guilty’ verdict, what we must ask ourselves is: What exactly did this verdict teach us – what did it teach our young men? Day in and day out, we watched a prosecution try to convict a man who – by choice, followed a teenage boy with a gun – and shot him dead. In America, this actual scenario seemed like a no-brainer up until July 13, 2013. The non-guilty verdict keeps us all at rage, and I can’t really speak for anyone else, but this is what the verdict taught me. Young Black Man, at the time of your birth you were deemed ‘unimportant’. Some of you were born in households, where you’re future lifestyle, personality, and goals have already been predicted by men in suits and badges, due to your zip code. Even with the many different career goals our young men do have, in the eyes of THIS legality world – you are not worthy of that. Why? Simple, ‘we know you already’ says America.

    America has defined you not by how you share love with your family and friends, not by your smile and laugh, and certainly not by your encouraged education and book smarts. No, my friend -America defines you by your choice to wear urban clothing, and spewing of harsh vocabulary, your hip hop influence, and your well….your skin color. You see, unless you know the history of this country –and exactly how it was built, you can’t jump to any conclusions. I write this essay with no intentions of pointing fingers or to ignite rage, but you must really know what’s going on. As a race we were brought here for one original reason, and from that point on we were judged, badly. So much wrong was carried out on our race – that the opposing race – during that era – naturally grew afraid of a balanced (or equal) living platform with us. Yes, the Civil Rights movement had a huge victory, but even with their leap to heal this country’s racist wounds, prejudiced hearts still will exist.

    The sharp stabs of racism have been carried on throughout generation after generation, for so long that a watered-down effect is present. While there may be peace, there is still so much corruption and ignorant prejudgment in the hearts of many – including our law officials and judicial system. We were feared since that slavery era simply because we were brought here under circumstances that were untruthful, wicked, and wrong. You, my young black man, in many places of this country, are feared because you are African American, you are strong, and you are nonconforming. You are nonconforming because you chose your own individuality (naturally); you did not mock the image of the leading race. You created your own image that states, I’m a black, and even before you open your mouth that image will still ‘yell that’. This urbanized look has become a threat, and just being you screams ‘disaster’.  Let me not fail to mention that even sometimes opening your mouth is useless when you ‘look’ a certain way.

    Your opinion can’t hold any weight, simply because your ‘looks’ don’t warrant such opinions. America has your ‘type’ already figured out already. They already know that you are ‘suspicious’- referencing that Zimmerman’s 911 call – just because of your choice of ‘clothing’. Sound about right? Of course it does. A hard pill to swallow this is. So, my question to young black men – how are you going to live with this? What will you do to fight against such preconceived judgment? Is there anything you can do? That is merely the most important question. Learn your rights. Learn them like your ABCS. Wait, I can’t say that, because the night of Trayvon Martin’s murder, one would think he knew his right ‘to walk home’ and be unharmed. So, you know what? Maybe your knowledge of the rights placed before you won’t even matter. Young black man, this world isn’t quite set up in a way that accepts many of you. I thought long and hard before I made this statement, so don’t think of me as emotionally outraged and displaced with my feelings. I also don’t want my young black man to wallow in this grime – dirty mud of reality. You must keep living, and you cannot, by any means necessary allow the outcome of this foul trial ruin your future.  Yes, this America repels everything your culture influenced you to look like, speak like, and act like. So I must ask, like every other annoying writer has asked thus far? What are you going to do? How will you face such a harsh reality? Will your peaceful rioting suffice? Will this ever be enough to chisel this hard evil method of assumptions that America’s legal systems will put forth in regards to our black men? All questions that I ask with pure sarcasm, because the truth of the matter is – there is nothing ‘super hero-ish’ that you can do. So, I feel you when you scream ‘we don’t know’ at the many essays floating around out here.

    You can continue to stay on the asses of those who represent your communities, and pray that things like this are blocked through your dedicated methods. So with my very minimal response spoken, that’s the part that hurts me the most. Even as an African American female, I must reinforce the method to young black men; that they should continue to walk on eggshells and have faith in this justice system. No sarcasm. That’s all I got, because I will not tell you to change who you are, what you like to wear. As long as you hold a true pure heart, without any hate present in your heart – you’re good with me. As long as you don’t break the law, I don’t care what you look like – and your America shouldn’t either. That’s just the way it is – in the words of the late great Tupac. Trayvon Martin lost his life, and in return many of our eyes have been opened. Know your America, but never lose your faith in livelihood – even if the game isn’t fair. Pray for your brother daily and stay reminded of this kind of permissible struggle that many in the future will face.