My Optimistic Thoughts on Racial Tension.
By: Rock Kitaro
Date: February 15, 2014
Epik High ft. Dumbfounded – “Life is like a Maze”
The following is an empirical observation given by a 27-year-old black man living in the state of Florida. Yes…the same state of the Trayvon Martin incident, and most recently, the Michael Dunn case.
I don’t claim to be an African-American. But simply an American. Does this mean that I don’t have any pride for my ancestors? I don’t know. But regardless of what I claim to be, it’s undeniable that my skin is dark and that I am an African-American. I don’t see this as a bad thing or a source of pride. It is simply a biological technicality. Very similar to my stance on family members who I don’t know or care about.
When I come across a rude and inconsiderate person, a stranger who gives off a rude vibe with disdainful stares and a fearful caution of me. The type of people who would rather project invisible friends to stare at in order to keep from making eye contact…
I’m the type of person who likes to give strangers the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they had a bad day. Maybe they are under a lot of stress from either a job, or difficulties in the family. Maybe they’re not feeling well and just want to keep to themselves and go on about their day. Maybe its just their personalities to be reserved and in their own bubble. Or maybe the person is just flat-out, an asshole. Or an uneducated person who was never taught the simply concept of common courtesy.
Regardless of the reason why, I simply don’t like assuming people are racist. I also go so far as to take in the consideration that I’m a big guy. I may come off as intimidating, so they’d rather not make any moves to get on my bad side, ignoring the possibility that simply avoiding me or not reciprocating a greeting could just as easily land you in the pile of people I wish harm to.
This editorial… If I’ve learned anything over the course of the past few weeks, its that the media outlets like CNN, Fox News, HLN, and MSNBC always seem to put the worst of us Americans in the spotlight. This is a good and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because with the media spotlight on such situation, the window of avarice and corruption is smaller.
The bad thing is the effect it has on the general public, in which people are quick to assume that how one group of people feel is the same as the general consensus. And when I say “group of people” I’m not even talking about ethnic groups in general. I’m talking about a handful of people who have gathered under a particular cause and just so happens to be of one race.
In that first paragraph…about me simply being an American. I truly hope every U.S. citizens sees themselves as such in the future. Diversity is key to disintegrating the deep-seeded animosity that ethnic groups hold towards one another. And I get it. I get that people feel more comfortable when there surrounded with people who remind them of them. I wonder if that’s why some people look down on individuals who aren’t afraid to mingle in with groups of friends who are of a different race. But I digress.
The racial tension that I’m addressing in this editorial refers to a sentiment that’s not so obvious in the sense that people aren’t wearing white masks, bearing the swastikas, or spewing racial slurs when they get around other races. I’m referring to internal feeling of caution one feels because they’re not routinely exposed to other races. It’s like they don’t know how to act or feel towards the individual. This also refers to individuals who find it impossible to find individuals of another race, attractive.
Such sentiment is similar even when a person is routinely exposed to other people of other races…but then an incident happens that garners National media coverage in which it seems that once again, its one race against another.
And I confess… Sometimes I feel animosity myself. But my animosity isn’t aimed at a particular ethnic group or race. It’s aimed at you sorry son’s of bitches who are so quick to pull out a gun and fucking shoot someone because you’re afraid. These motherfuckers are individuals I really want to sink my teeth in and give em a reason to sense fear. Don’t fear me because of my potential especially when I’ve done nothing to show that potential, other than being 6’3 230 lbs.
On my boss’s radio show (my boss is a famous lawyer with his own internet radio show). We discussed two shooting cases that have happened here in our wonderful, interesting state of Florida.
One, involves Curtis Reeves. This former police captain was made famous because he opened fire in a movie theater at a young married couple who were texting their four-year-old. This happened before the movie even began and there’s a video circulating of the argument just before those fateful shots. This incident involves two parties in which both of them were white. Obviously no racial tension there. And yet I feel an internal rage towards Curtis Reeves.
Let’s check out our next trigger-finger, Michael Dunn. This guy fired ten rounds at an SUV full of Black teens during an argument about loud music in which Dunn claims that he saw a weapon. After killing one of the teens, a seventeen-year-old named Jordan Davis, Dunn goes back to his residency and doesn’t call the police. He doesn’t turn himself in. He does nothing. Here, we have two parties, one white, one black. There’s room for racial tension… but still…my anger is just the same as with Curtis Reeves. And… I just found out that Dunn’s case resulted in a mistrial…classic.
On my boss’s radio show, I asked my boss about these individuals giving gun-owners a bad name. I said, that instead of groups supporting the NRA to combat the so-called left wing Liberals, why don’t they concentrate their efforts on quelling their valuable gun-owning members and put forth an effort through positive media campaigns to stop these trivial killings.
My boss countered that Reeves was a dedicated officer for so many years who was trained in firearms. He stated that if there was any person on earth you’d want to have a gun, it’s Reeves. He said this, mainly to try and prove that my theory of educating and subjecting gun-owners to a higher moral conscience would be pointless.
I argued that with the facts stated, there’s obviously something wrong with Reeves. Given his training and experience, it’s clear that there was something mentally or emotionally wrong with him that we the public aren’t aware of. Which means that he wasn’t someone you’d want to have a gun, and if he does take advantage of our wonderful 2nd Amendment, then he of all people needs to be a target for such education and counseling.
When it comes to gun laws, it really is an argument in which there is no winner. It all really boils down to a person’s moral conscience, and with people all raised differently with their own interpretations of what’s right or wrong…I sigh…
Regardless of my own anger towards the gun-toters…it really is sad because its in situations such as the Trayvon Martin and the Michael Dunn incidents that I begin to sense the aforementioned suppressed fear from other races. With those incidents broadcasted on the news, when I see Caucasians (white people) in the gym… It’s like they’re walking around a bear. They see me, but try to avoid all contact with me while greeting others of their own race like they’ve known each other for years. That sentiment is truly disheartening because it makes me feel like I don’t belong.
…story of my life… The feeling of not belonging…surrounded by many but still alone.
I think what’s happened to Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin is extremely tragic and I feel for their families. But my sympathies are a natural humane instinct that I’d feel towards any victim that’s put up on a screen before me, regardless of their race. I think this is the same with millions of other Americans. This isn’t a cynical declaration of that cold-hearted phrase, “this happens all the time”. But more so a sentiment of… “lets not add to the fire.” Or “lets use this situation to better ourselves as a nation with a higher price tag on human lives.”
For now…it seems Florida will be the punch line of jokes for a long time. Former Florida Charlie Crist was on Colbert Report where Stephen Colbert asked him.
“Now why do you want to be governor of Florida. It’s a tough state to govern. It’s a tough state to uh…live in.”
This was followed by a round of applause from the audience. I confess, I too couldn’t help but grin. But my sense of humor is dark and twisted to begin with.
When I moved to Tampa eight years ago, I never thought it would be known for senseless gun violence and acquittals for baby-killers. But I won’t run from it either. I’m now beginning to understand people living in the south during the civil rights era.
It wasn’t to stick it to the man or hold our chins up at those who didn’t want us there. I hope it wasn’t like that. More so, I hope it was to prove to the nation that multiple races could co-exist in peace. Maybe I’m being idealistic in that regard. I confess, I’ve hardly done any civil rights research for this piece, so I’m sure my opinion will change as I grow.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they all just had a very bad day. A very bad day that somehow picks up when they see others of their own race. Hahaha! That’s just a little something something. The case could very well be that those people really do know each other and go way back. While I’m the newcomer.
Either way, I’ll strive to suppress such self-doubt about belonging or not belonging. Wanted or not wanted. It’s just like it always was with me. You wanna be cool, then I welcome you with open arms. If not…no hard feelings. But excuse me while I keep on moving.