Today I am fulfilling a stereotype. I've resented this stereotype in the past, but today I am fulfilling it. Today, I am an angry Black Man.
I'm an angry Black man because in that one verdict, all of the memories resurfaced of growing up in the suburbs, and the many times I was stopped, questioned, even frisked, and looked upon with suspicion for jogging or walking the very streets that my parents tax money paid to clean, and hassled by police who's salaries those same dollars also paid.
I'm an angry Black man because the system of justice that I've sought to convince so many others would prove right in the end has shown that it can still be twisted to serve people's interests and not truth.
I'm an angry Black man because of the arrogance of defense attorneys who have the unmitigated gall to declare that "there would not even be a case" if a Black man had perpetrated this offense, and that this "was not about race." If it were a Black man he would be UNDER the jail right now.)
I'm an angry Black man because of the message that this verdict sends: that it's okay to act on your prejudices even to the extent of snuffing out a life filled with potential (It seems it's "open season" on Black males.)
But most of all, I'm an angry Black man simply because another family, regardless of whether it's Black, White, Red, or Brown is crying unnecessary tears.
You that know me know I'm not easily angered, but that's why I'm an angry Black man today.
But I believe that anger is a useless emotion if it is wasted. I believe in a God who does not waste anything, even grief or anger or frustration. It's useless to waste my anger on activities that will yield no positive returns.
It's useless to waste my anger by becoming apathetic and checking out of efforts to change things.
It's useless to waste my anger on destructive activities that take life and don't promote life.
Anger is a useless emotion if it turns sour to resentment, apathy or desire for revenge. As an angry Black man, I have to find ways to forgive, and to understand that, as Ephesians 6 says "we wrestle not against flesh and blood." There are systems and mindsets that must be confronted. It's time to turn that anger into activism. It's a time to ACT UP.
It's time to act up by battling in prayer for all families involved.
It's time to act up by signing a petition demanding that the department of justice open a civil rights case against George Zimmerman
It's time to act up by determining to use the vote to call to account anyone who tolerates injustice
It's time to act up by not being satisfied until ALL young people, including Black males, are given every opportunity to be successful
It's time to act up by doing everything we can to strengthen the bond of unity in our families, churches and communities.
I'm an angry Black man today, but I can't leave it at that. I must turn my painful anger into positive action.