The Sleep, The Woke, and The Smart

For most black people in America, we encounter three types of white people. The first are the sleepers, those who live in a somnambulant world where race relations are a nightmare that disturbs their rest. Secondly, and the most disturbing, is the woke. They listen to Cardi B, wear Authentic Vans, Lululemon yoga pants, and proudly proclaim, ‘I don’t see color.’ That not only dismisses the existence of black people but characterizes our problems as paranoid delusions and diminishes systemic racism as just a lack of trying.  Then finally you have the people who get it—the smartones. They get that Black Lives Matter because white lives have never been three-fifths of a person and blue lives are the color of a uniform, and the police come in all colors.

I have never seen or heard a Black Lives Matter advocate say, white lives don’t matter, Norwegian or American. When Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times from less than six inches away, was there ever a question if the officer’s life mattered? No, in that instant where black men and women become wounded animals, you have to put them down, permanently, or they will turn on you. I cannot vouch for all other black men, but I do not have super strength, women do not fall at my feet at the sight of my prowess, and my clothing is not woven from Vibranium.

Why did it take five police officers (one as overseer) in New York city to choke the life out of unarmed Eric Garner? Why was unarmed Walter Scott shot in the back, from at least 20 feet, while running away? Why did the blood soak body of unarmed teen Michael Brown lie in a street of Ferguson, Missouri for hours like a trophy? Why was unarmed Sandra Bland dragged from her car and found dead in her cell days later? Why was unarmed Breonna Taylor’s body riddled with eight bullets? The sleepers will say it is not about color it was about the crime, so let us talk about their crimes. Selling loose cigarettes, missing child support payments, allegedly stealing cigars, taking a job in Texas as a college professor. Oh yes, I forgot, sleeping. Well, the police are afraid too, the woke will say, and if both parties could just come together… tell that to Amadou Diallo, shot 19 times when he tried to cooperate and reached for his wallet to identify himself. Again, we turn to the smart-ones who say right away ‘none of those people “deserved” to die.’      

I grew up in an era when black people rioted and white people exercised civil disobedience. Not so many years ago, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the white residents were described as displaced citizens and black residents were described on the news as refugees. The Oxford Dictionary defines refugees—as persons who have been forced to ‘leave their country’ to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. Sure, the woke will say you are making too much of semantics, maybe? But why do semantics, more often than not, end in the loss of rights and full citizenship for black Americans? Maybe I will ask the smart-ones…

Vote in 2020 for Change.