There are these automatic expectations, which just is another way of saying stereotypes, that strongly elude to the negative attitude that I allegedly have. It’s the very thing that underlines the statement “you look angry,” when it’s just another day truly. It’s also the reason why myself, and I’m sure so many other men of color, can’t even deepen their voices without being assigned the adjective insubordinate. As if I’m incapable of respectfully notifying a superior that they themselves have areas of opportunity that they should work on. I call a spade, a spade. Period. I’ve always cared less about an individual’s ethnicity. Unfortunately, though, I live in a world where it seems very few people actually have the same perspective.
I live in a world that reminds me constantly that my opinion is invalid, my emotions shouldn’t exist, and I should, frankly, be blessed that I’m even allowed to breathe the same air as those who deem me inferior due to my complexion. Even if it’s not directly stated, the past, the sit-downs I’ve had with my parents, always left me with such messages. It was always suggested that it’s “better to get along, then to be alone.” Only to find that it’s nothing close to being better. In fact, I was tortured. Tormented by my own freedom fighter inside. Bursting with voices that desired to be heard. Not with the intent to ignite rebellion, but because I felt, it was the right thing to do. I feel I can contribute, constructively, and I refuse to let anyone make me feel less than without having sound, concrete evidence of the case they’re trying to present.
I’m just exasperated from pretending. We still live in a world where individuals, mainly Caucasians, can call every Islamic individual a radical terrorist (when most aren’t) but will refer to every single Caucasian school shooter as a “troubled individual who was a lone wolf with mental issues.” It’s EXHAUSTING. The media. The fallacies. The stereotypes. From sunrise to sunset. It’s precisely the very reason as of lately, I’ve done nothing but flex: Flexing my intellect to its maximum capacity. Pursuing my dreams, MY DREAMS, despite the system. Fighting the system. Fighting for everything I believe, fighting for the betterment of all communities, because isn’t that allegedly the “American Dream:” no matter what your race or creed? Oh wait, we have a “President” that doesn’t even practice what they preach, who does nothing but insight and perpetuate hate, bigotry, and narcissistic driven superiority complexes: all on the foundation of good ole’ fashion American racism.
I’m going to continue to flex my opinion, regardless if others will absorb it or not because being quite has done nothing, absolutely NOTHING, for me, nor this world. It’s the very reason I can even vote or that I’m not picking cotton, or worst: hung from a tree because Lord knows I can never keep my mouth shut. I, we, need to flex, because continuously projecting this imagery that anyone of color is a threat to humanity, a menace to society, a pot smoking gang-banger that sags their pants and drinks forties out of a paper bag, a radical terrorist, uneducated, incapable of excelling and becoming nothing short of prestigious: is BANANAS. Absolutely irrational. It’s not a lot of people’s reality. Most people, at least I do, just want to live long as possible and prosper; in a world that TRULY allows equal opportunity and advancement for all. Until then, flex as much as you need to because YOU and I, deserve, DEMAND, to be and be seen as, more than the color of our skin.
- Alex N. Wanderland