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Advice That I Could Never Give a Black Man

    Never thought that in my thirty two years, I’d be witnessing the televised slaying of so many of my brothers – paired with similar excuses from people we’re supposed to learn to trust, respect and honor.

    I feared for my life.

    He had a gun.

    Examples of excuses that fall from the trail of many different officers’ lips, like saliva, without care or human thought. Naturally embedded in the heads of so many police officers is embedded the idea that some lives are not equivalent to others. These thoughts sit imprinted in their minds so heavily, that – easily they can provide a calm – nonchalant – excuse for executing a black man in the streets – against his will – and against this country’s acclaimed will.


    My childhood had provided to me the illusionary idea that ‘racism didn’t exist’ anymore, as it did back before Civil Rights leaders lost their lives in justice combat. Proud leaders had marched day and night, died by swords already for myself – and brothers to be treated equal. So, who’s going to explain the news today in 2015? I had actually been naïve enough to think that, this country, was genuinely looking down upon every citizen –as an equal of their neighbor. I could have never been so wrong in my three decades of living

    Day in and day out I’m nervously expecting a story – of unfairness, inequality, and suspect behavior – imposed on my brethren; my African American men. Who do we hash tag and rally for next? When will the repetitive actions of calm marching stop or heal anything? Sorry to discredit, if that’s your feelings from my wording. I swear those are not my intentions. Sometimes I grip my pen with so many feelings, but non-existent words. The stuff on the news today has no explanation.

    Horrifying stories pour from new services about young men running from the hands of sporadic law officials, who grip guns with loose consciences. All stand equipped with ‘innocence’, verbally ready to provide their generic ‘I feared for my life’ response for protection. Then all we’re left with are rallies, helpless family videos, funeral speeches, while being thirsty for a black president national address – for bandage purposes I suppose.

    When many of us have begun searching for answers, a growing number of us have begun making lists of ‘safety measures’ that young and old black men, should use – in order to not be targeted by the law.

    If self -innocence is present, my black man that no longer is a factor.

    Play the role of guilty in the presence of an officer and wear the arrest.

    Advice I could never give.

    There are even rules for our young black males, that they should toss away their hoodies, cut their dreadlocks, and drown out any other ‘hipster’ or urban visuals presented in their physical arrival.

    In simpler wording:  Tone down your black, to stay alive.

    Shh. Your Black Is Too Loud.

    All of these things are said with a straight face. People are really out here providing the antidote to being ‘safe’ against a malicious and careless police officer. The statement: We want our black men to come home alive – makes me sick.

    For me it’s really the safety of souls and the preservation of natural mind strength that I’m worried about. Is the next generation ready to wear this mental scar? Are black men ready to ‘take one for the team’?

    Are we really ready to start giving guides to staying alive, in a world of unjust actions and crookedness – shaping minds of fear?

    That’s exactly what is being done, with such ‘Survival Handbook’ rules being passed out like stale Halloween candy.

    Strength, righteousness and natural ability to command respect, without saying a word – are virtuous characteristics my ‘black man’ has and has owned since the beginning of time. How will a man play both sides? How will he magically pull off beating the odds of human nature? Maybe you don’t believe we’re garnishing those king qualities self-righteousness, leadership, and strength, but I digress. We’ll chistle away the mental muscle for so many – because in their act of surrendering and conformity – it will become a part of who they are.

    These rules.

    Swallow it.

    Accept it and dodge bullets aimed at your skin color.

    All advice I could never give.

    I hate it actually.

    Easily, in my mind, it’s the equivalent of spitting in a king’s face, but I guess that’s just what being black in America means right?

    Call me what you want.

    To do as told, and find ways to maneuver around harm set out to kill you.

    Be human, but don’t express any emotion.

    No, excuse me. You may show humility and surrender yourself at will, but please, no anger.

    You can never show anger.

    I can’t give this advice.

    I feel those of you who do, but it makes my stomach churn in knots of disservice for the hierarchy of ‘man’, ever born unto a nation – a black one. One godly design that should actually stands for something. Unfortunately right now, the royal design of a black man I’ve always grown proud of, has been pushed up on the gambling table, like stacked chips up for sale – belonging to my generation.

    I don’t want to fold my hand. I have nothing else to add. I’m clueless just like some.

    There is just some advice that I could never give to a black man. I’ll let someone else give it.

    I just can’t.

    Chakara is a published author, blogger, youth activist and journalist from Raleigh, N.C. To reach her email [email protected] |