James Baldwin once said “to be black and conscious in America, is to be in a constant state of rage.” As a black man, I can relate somewhat to Baldwin’s quote, in there is a level of frustration that comes with constantly seeking the same opportunities that other (white) Americans have.
The recent unrest in our country following the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota has had the effect of awakening the consciousness of white America. This has begun to show results in policies and practices that been a barrier to improvements in race relations. The perception that black America is angry, especially black men, has manifested itself in the treatment and actions by white American towards black men; in law enforcement, and legislation. For example, when President Obama was elected as our first black president, there was a sense that he was going to exact some kind of revenge on white people. This created some type of fear in white America that resulted in harsh reaction to the president.
When I raise my voice in some of my public discourse, it may be perceived that I am angry at white folk when, in fact, I may be making a point on an issue that I’m passionate about. We have to learn how to have positive discussions about race across racial lines, without buying into the perceptions we have about black men and black America.
The disease of racism is prevalent in our community and our society, and the longer we fail to seek a cure, the worse the disease will get. Let’s work together to eliminate the “ constant state of rage” that we find ourselves, and move forward as a community.