Today I was finishing up some computer work I had to do for the job. Since I had about three hours of work to do, I decided to go to the local mall here, grab some lunch, and finish my work. The city and mall where I ended up is ill-relevant because I believe the scene I experienced would occur anywhere in the world today. What happened is I was sitting there working for about an hour until five young high school age African (Black) males came and sat at the table behind me. They had a plethora of dance moves they started practicing and the moves they exhibited were outstanding in my opinion. The young guys were about 15 or 16 and so as you can imagine, their interaction was peppered with a healthy dose of profanity, including the n word every two seconds. If you understand anything about social relations and history in this society, and African history in this society, nothing there should shock or surprise you. What I did find amusing is the reactions of White adults, and many so-called African Black people, who passed these young men. What I saw on pretty much all the faces of these people was fear to even pass these young men. Some tried to hide it with plastered on smiles, but after 49 years in this country, I know when folks are uncomfortable, especially when the reason is us. What does that say? It says a lot, but most of that isn't the reason I'm writing this. And for you that would dwell on how "intimidating" the young men must have been, my response to you is I started a conversation with them and found them quite engaging, excited I took time to express interest in them, and very interesting (of course), and wanting further interaction with me, but this is what I do. So what's the problem? It's that young men like this generate a response of apprehension because they are criminalized in this racist society. I know this because I was a 16 year old African male here myself and since I take great care of myself, I'm tall, muscular, and "intimidating" still, although I'm much older now. I don't make any excuses for the language these youth used, and certainly not for them using the n word, but I know after almost 30 years of organizing African people that the way to address that is to do exactly what I did, initiate a converation with them and build a relationship with them so I can help them see a different way of seeing themselves......The answer isn't to criminalize them and act as if they pose some sort of threat to you.....They couldn't care less about you because you can't even come close to competing with the elaborate dance steps they were demonstrating......Besides......Who the hell is anyone here to judge them? For anyone who would be offended by their language and aggressiveness, I'm three times as offended by the language, aggressiveness, ignorance, and arrogance of the idiots running for the republican presidential nomination.....The corporate CEOS and spokespeople who justify greed and destroying the planet, and all of you for allowing all of htat to happen and doing absolutely nothing to stop it. ....And you wonder why your own children work so hard to imitate those very same boys I saw today......Maybe you need to take some time to sit down and try and figure that one out.....Let me know when you get here with that one.
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