I don’t know if you read about my current research project King’s Speak. It is an informal research study aimed at fairly representing the voice of diverse black men across the African Diaspora here on www.AishaAdams.com, as it relates to current affairs for 2016. Today’s topic is Tamir Rice. While I will be posting snippets from my research via blogs often throughout the year, you can sign up for my newsletter if you wish to receive a more quantitative research analysis. If you sign up now, you can also get a copy of my poetry book as well.
The first survey the kings completed for me was on the grand jury decision in the Tamir Rice incident. As a black woman, a wife, and a mother, I have my own frustrations. I am appalled that we live in a country where there are no consequences for gunning down a child on a playground playing with a toy gun.
I get nervous about my teenage son as he asserts his own independence by going to the mall or the movies. Far too often, I find my family gathered around a YouTube video critically analyzing, discussing, or trying to make meaning out of tragedy. How do you prepare yourself over and over again to tell your black son white supremacy and oppression is not only alive, but thriving?
So I asked 50 black men:
What would you say to a room full of 100 young black men Tamir Rice’s age?
Their answers took me through a myriad of emotions. I resonated with some answers and flat out disagreed with others, but at the end of the day I am glad I got black men’s perspectives. The black man’s perspective in the media is often absent or oversimplified. Their answers gave me a lot to think about. Here are a few of their answers I got.
I would apologize for failing them for not standing up to stop this sooner.
You can’t do what all other boys do “naturally” At the age of twelve like playing with BB guns.. Play guns and things of the sort.. Because you’re Black.. And you need to understand what America feels about myself and even males at your age. You’re viewed as threatening.. So you have to walk a different path as to how some of your peers may walk
1/2/2016 10:47 AM
Forego what this society offers you as acceptable . They don’t have your best interest at heart . Feed your mind and heart on the truth , and not the lies and falsehoods given to us through the various avenues of entertainment.
We live in a world that fears black. They even fear black boys. Unfortunately, law enforcement will not think twice about shooting or killing you. Please cooperate with law enforcement. Don’t make any sudden movements. Don’t do anything to put your life in danger.
Be careful. Never assume that the police will be fair.
Systematic White supremacy is real and you need to realize that the rules are different for us. The only power we have is economic.
Watch your front, watch your back. Look out for your brothers to the left and right of you.
Don’t wave guns, toy or otherwise, at people in public. If the cops don’t shoot you, someone else might. It’s just not a very smart course of action.
About the verdict? Our kids are talked at enough. I would let them speak and have the convo flow that way. Kids in urban America are more cognizant about policing issues than we think.
Learn the truth of who you are as well as who it is that calls you enemy and why. Only then will you know what is at stake.
Today is a different time than that of when I was your age. There are things that we had the freedom to do that, as young men of your color, you simply cannot do. It is not fair; some things in life aren’t. But you are still entitled to enjoy your youth. Just make sound judgements when doing so.
I would explain to them how great the spirit is within them. That everyday they should strive to beat the negative stereotypes placed on them.
I can’t wait to read your responses to their responses. What do you think about what the brothers have to say? Is there anything you disagree with?
Are you a black man who wants to share your opinion via King Speak? Inbox me via Facebook.