Live Your Most Beautiful Life
A culture of paranoia encapsulates American black men within an invisible cloak of suspicion from birth. It is a cloak that passes down to every new generation of black men, who at some point in their lives come across a situation that makes them realize: I am not equal. While local, state and national laws may appear to guarantee equality among all citizens, society still trains its citizenry to guard itself against the "dangerous black male," who endures an unwanted and unsolicited jury of suspicion the moment he sets foot outside his house everyday. It is an accepted suspicion that recently killed young Trayvon Martin, along with countless other innocent black men and children in this nation's history.
Some people justify the suspicion, claiming that black men are inherently violent people and therefore automatically
warrant the suspicion. In fact, some people actually defend Trayvon's killer, George Zimmerman, stating that Trayvon actually brought on his own death by looking suspicious while wearing a hoodie. Let's get some points straight: the media has and continues to play a significant role in highlighting violence specifically committed by black men, while downplaying violence and criminal activity in other racial groups. The role that the media plays in this portrayal is an extension of a historical message constructed about black men since the days of slavery. It is a message that has been so perfectly engrained within American life that many people are apt to feel fear or some suspicion the moment they see a black male. The message is central to today's deep racial divide, perpetuating erroneous stereotypes and leaving a trail of innocent deaths in its wake.
Black mothers feel the unique burden of having to educate their young sons on how to behave in public so as to not solicit unwarranted, negative attention from the surrounding public. They are aware that the invisible cloak of suspicion wraps around their children from a very young age, soliciting the stares and the fear of others around them. These mothers instruct their children on how to avoid that suspicion as much as possible without instilling a sense of inferiority or inequality in their young minds.
Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where no matter what mothers teach their children, they fear whether their
children must suffer the consequence of death simply because of the color of their skin. Young people today are coming of age in a country where the racial divide is deepening, and racist rhetoric is becoming increasingly popular in light of having a black President, recent "fearmongering" discourse suggesting the end of "White America", as well as a dramatic spike in hate groups around the nation.
Despite America's progress re: race relations, the invisible cloak of suspicion on Trayvon's back eventually realized into a visible coffin. I hope and pray that black men are eventually unchained from these cloaks and released from the prisons of paranoia that encapsulate their existence today.
-Written by: Cafe Belle's Society and Culture Barista