Saturday, March 29, 2008

If You're Black in America, Your Days Are Numbered

When you're a Black man in the United States, your days are numbered. Due to poorer health care and the stress that comes from incessantly fighting color-aroused oppression, as well as self-destructiveness, our life expectancy is 13 years less than a white woman's. Some of us are on our way to an early grave or the emergency room because of rampant police violence with impunity, and Ron and Roy Pettaway could attest that we really can't predict which of us it will be next.

During the riots, a member of the Black Panthers told me to keep my head down below window height, so as not to get hit by a bullet. Well, that is a metaphor for how all Black people live in the United States. In addition to literal stray bullets, we have stray color-aroused police, stray environmental racism, stray color-aroused denial of medical care, stray denial of employment and housing . . . How long can we keep our heads down, and for what ultimate purpose?

A lot of Panthers from back in day are still engaged in a revolutionary purpose: quietly going to work each day in the helping professions (medicine, law, government services) that never admitted Black people before the 1960's.

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