Photography by Hannah Price
October 29, 2020
Today I woke up feeling confused, upset, and maybe angry with the circumstances that caused my forefathers to lose blood on our land. I’ve been hoping that the Black man I want to be will one day emerge while gathering the fragments of tragedies suffered by my people. We knowingly avoid the teeth of predators thirsty for our blood in a jungle of systemic injustices from birth. And my guilt consumes me as a Black man because I cling to this pervasive thought (most likely in vain) that justice would view my people with at least a squinted eye through its spectacles while in courts or by way of public opinion. I claw at the idea of what I think I know about my relationship with this nation as my mind feels the weight of the tyrannical planning of my oppressors. Little by little, I scrape past the sparkling wraps of justice while severing the tightly cinched bows, flipping open the four flaps to find the box only contains a series of never-ending boxes. All they have provided me in every living document or article declaring the “freedom of all” are more shiny wraps and fluffed up bows, empty with a prepackaged concept of what it means to be equal.
I derive that our democracy, while pretty on the outside, provides an infinite bastion of nothingness from its inner workings. We seek a righteous nation because the average experience of a Black man is tantamount to the hell of the lowest of White man. So, I end with this as a criticism of how I feel about you, my country. I want your respect, your understanding. I offer a warning that you must honor me and my contributions as one of your abandoned sons, or I will burn our house down to make you understand what it means to start from the bottom with me. I pray that you, my fellow countrymen gain an appreciation for my people because it is just one of the many stakes that pin a corsage of love for all that we have endured in this dysfunctional relationship of ours. Trust, loyalty, and love are the holy trinity of human relations. We have never felt these qualities as a people here in the nation where my forefathers lost their blood on our land.