A question that is asked often of me is how and why am I so different. People ask me this as though I am supposed to fit my entire life experience into a cute little nutshell. So that they can then compare me to their pre-conceived notions of how young black males are supposed to behave and think. These people want me to make them feel comfortable about their own ignorance. So instead of turning into the angry black man (which is usually misunderstood) I very assertively pacify the inquirer’s curiousity with an answer that is tactful but yet still true to my roots.
I tell them, “I am not different and there was no eureka moment every experience in my life has been based solely on survival and so I am who I am because I had to be.”
This response can either validate or crush worldviews, sometimes both. My response validates those looking for a fresh perspective. I give them hope. It destroys others’ notions of me and people like me because I don’t fit in their box. I am human not a nutshell. You should see the look on these people’s faces when I say I’m no different, it is amazing. Amazingly sad. They say young black males are dangerous and I think this is the cause for the shock effect when I don’t distinguish myself. The irony is laughable. I find it funny because I have spent all of my young life trying to become more and more dangerous. Not in the vein of violence but rather in order to develop self-discpline in chaos. If society is safe within its complacency then anyone who wants to change the status quo must be dangerous.
Where I’m from once you got comfortable you were already dead. This “death” comes in many forms: mentally, economically, spiritually and even physically. Growing up amongst insanity has advantages, believe it or not. Only if you understand you’re conditioned to be numb to it. I began to debunk the stagnant mindset I had and became very angry at not only my plight but also the actions of others. Instead of buckling under the burden of knowledge I became very proactive and took action in my community and have not stopped since. One thing is that insanity does not have to lie to you. Death rates and police brutality does not have to lie to you. Crack houses next to 1.3 million dollar condos don’t have to tell fibs behind your back because it’s way to busy smacking you in the face. There is no privilege for it to hide behind. I was forced to see and and eventually make sense of this madness I had been in.
I am now at a point in my life where I’m making peace with the madness I have seen and experienced. I no longer operate from that place of insanity because it has to be fed constantly. Humility is a feeling that is unlimited. I approach everything I do with love in mind because I have realized its transformative power. This is why I have dedicated my life to breaking down the social constructs that hold us back from coming together. There is something critical that everyone needs to understand and that is the seriousness of the GCY movement. For some people it’s convenient to change things and for others it’s a matter of life and death. This dynamic must be respected if there is to be unity. I feel fortunate to be a founding fellow of GCY and I hope to bring energy to the movement and help create solidarity.