The Indifference of Being (black) Different

It’s the indifference in those who claim to be law-abiding, and or “sworn in” to make a difference, which concerns me. They’ll conjuror up their worst-case scenario or fears and seemingly act out regardless of truth. 

I was once asked why are “black men so angry?” My response was “a black man doesn’t equate to being angry, a threat or a criminal, unless the guilt of another’s personal opinions and fears manifest into that personal choice of thought. I also said “a white person doesn’t equate to being a bigot, racist or supremacist, unless his/her words, actions and demeanor dictates as such. What’s the difference? Discernment, or the lack thereof. The horrific issues are people’s actions are clearly affected by their biased belief. 

I’ve been on the front line of danger from the day my pigmentation was categorized as black. In this, a threat to society and a criminal mind up to no good. Throughout the course of my life, I’ve turned the other cheek without spiteful words, malice or aggressive retaliation.  

On countless occasions I’ve turn from spit, bigotry, racist slurs, lies, defamation of character and outright acts of hate. I’ve survived from the set up and manipulation of clever attacks and the hierarchy of bias disregard, camouflaged as a “plan in place” to oppress, cage and degrade the higher purpose of me leading a life of positive example. 

Before you start to judge me, let me add that throughout my life I’ve taken responsible note and observation with the intent of survival and helping others through the darkness of conditioned ignorance. 

As such, I was (on a few occasions) told by my own race I “wasn’t black enough,” because of chosen words and pronunciation. I was also told by a devout/high ranking Ku Klux Klan member that I was “different from all the other negros,” because of my kindness. I remember asking him in response, has he ever worked with a black person before? He said no. Here’s the thing, we worked together for two years and then one day, all his recruitment and rally papers fell out of his suitcase: right in front of me! He was extremely nervous, and thought I was going to get him fired, but I didn’t. We continued to work together for another year or so without any changes, other than him freely expressing a ton of “their” tricks, ways and acts, ultimately reiterating that I was safe and considered a “great friend.” So please try and understand, I’m not expressing nonsense or a literal fit of rage. 

When I first experienced hate, I was in Kindergarten (Huffman School) and my teacher told me to sit in the back of the room. When another kid asked why? The teacher uttered “because one N**ger isn’t worth a nickel.” I pretended not to hear the comment as other kids laughed. 

My first encounter with racism was when I turned 5 years old (on Edison street), when oppressors yelled out racial slurs, finger gestures and balled fists at my father as we walked into a store. 

My firsts encounter with prejudice was when I was 6 years old, and I overheard doctors (St. Elizabeth Hospital) begrudgingly wanting to operate on my immediate need, after being hit by a car. I remember clearly one saying, “and I thought “N**gers could run fast,” and “They’re probably not insured.” 

My first encounter with bigotry was when I moved into a new school district (Eastern Denis Middle School) and I was told “not to eat in the lunchroom, ever, or my black a** would be lynched!” And I didn’t for the entire year; I was 9 years old. 

My last/current experience with all the above e.g. hatred, racism, prejudice and bigotry, has all spanned over 45 years, back to my first experience when I was just a kindergartener, I’m now 50 years old. I haven’t acted out; I haven’t been in-prisoned nor have I developed a hatred for those of other races. I’ve never shot a gun at anyone, or pulled of knife in a fight. I’ve never assaulted, mugged or harassed anyone, never sold drugs or used them and have never consumed alcohol. I’ve never committed adultery on my wife, never cheated on my taxes and I don’t eat fried chicken, but by way of insidious conditioning, and profiling taught as an accepted norm, I’m perceived to be angry, untrustworthy and a threat to society per the color of my skin. 

Here’s my point,  

Some people speak out on an incident or two, and rightfully so, especially if it causes them pain, fear or injustice but not all people speak up or out. Some people turn inwardly, becoming depressed, oppressed, angered and often enraged at the slightest incident (per the breaking of a camels back).  

So, when a black person is questioned, suspected or seemingly targeted, and or assumed guilty, by anyone abusing rank, privilege, authority or a negative demeanor, know that the response by the black man may be filled with anxiety and an immediate fear of death! Yes, I know “other people” may feel this statement is biased, and it’s not exclusive only to black men, but please understand per my life experiences of being black, my actions, my spiritual note taking, and choice of forgiving upon turned cheek after turned cheek, there’s a big difference between being treated as a citizen, and being labeled as a person of interest (throughout one’s lifespan).   

Furthermore, with all my years of peaceful observation, here’s a mere three statements that needs to be expressed regarding the rhetorical response of “a plan in place,” to make a difference or the justification of corruption. 

Being “fired, investigated” or put on “administrative leave,” doesn’t fool everyone. 

One’s indifferent “apology” doesn’t make the consequence of pain any less tolerable.  

And lastly, people know the “difference” between protesters, rioters and looters! (hint: not all demonstrations are created equally. Some are carefully calculated/constructed to sabotage growth and equality in a nation.)

So why, why does this shock people? Their mindset is not that difficult to explain.  

When a white woman calls 911, and says in an erratic voice “I’m being threaten by an African American male in the park!” with spiteful intent, because the male asked her to muzzle her dog— per park regulations. Her actions are most likely due to years of negative thought process, fear-based protocol and acquired misinformation. Which in turn, leads to the manifestation of anger, and a spirit drenched in hate, readily available to spew wickedness, as her best choice of response.

When a white police officer says, “I need to see your proof of identification,” the anxiety, fear and mental state of the black person is often reminded of trauma and years of negative labeling, injustice and hatred towards his/her image. Thus, leading one to manifest a vision of brutality, or force that could lead to his/her immediate death.  

Just know, the response from both, white woman, and black male are of conditioned fear, but not all fear is equal in its integrity. That leads me to believe that conditioned fear is the culprit, and the tool of choice, ushered in by those of dark and unscrupulous intentions, but then again, it all boils down to the differences of being different, and the mindset of  those who choose to be indifferent. 

Think About it. 

Reginald Gibson