How to Talk To Young Black Boys About Trayvon Martin
1. I’m sorry but that’s the truth. Blackmaleness is a potentially fatal condition. I tell you that not to scare you but because knowing that could possibly save your life. There are people who will look at you and see a villain or a criminal or something fearsome. It’s possible they may act on their prejudice and insecurity. Being Black could turn an ordinary situation into a life or death moment even if you’re doing nothing wrong.
2. If you encounter such a situation, you need to play it cool. Keep your wits about you. Don’t worry about winning the situation, your goal is to survive.
3. There is nothing wrong with you. You’re amazing. I love you. When I look at you I see a complex human being with awesome potential but some others will look at you and see a thug. Even if their only evidence is your skin. Their racism relates to larger anxieties and problems in America that you didn’t create. When someone is racist toward you—either because they’ve profiled you or spat some slur or whatever—they are saying they have a problem. They are not speaking about you. They’re speaking about themselves and their deficiencies.
4. You will have to make allowances for other people’s racism. That’s part of the burden of being Black. We can be defiant and dead or smart and alive. I’m not saying you can’t wear what you want. Your clothes are a red herring. They’ll blame it on your hoodie or your jeans when the real reason they decided that you were a criminal is you’re Black. Of course, you know better. Racism is about reminding you that you are less human, less valuable, less worthy, less beautiful, less intelligent. It’s about pre-judging you as violent, fearsome, a threat. Some people will take that prejudice and try to enforce their will on you in order to make sure you feel like a second-class citizen and to make certain that you get back to the lower-class place they think you’re trying to escape. The best way to counter them will not involve your fists but your mind. You know your value to the world and how awesome you are. If you never forget that, they can’t damage your spirit. The best revenge is surviving and living well.
Read more: ideas.time.com
TourÉ is the author of four books, including Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?