The most used phrase from the black community in the last couple of days is: “What the black community needs to do is…”
At what point is enough, enough?  We have surpassed enough being “enough”, decades ago. Yet still, here we are. In the United States of America there exists a two tiered Justice System: one for Blacks and one for whites (oh and people with money).
I was shocked at those who were shocked at the outcome of the George Zimmerman verdict. From the all-white jury’s perspective, Zimmerman was defending himself and had a right to kill Trayvon.  As a non-black man with a white father, Zimmerman had a right to stalk and follow Trayvon because “they” always get away  (as he stated to the 911 operator ) even when no crime had been committed.  In the mind of the jury, Zimmerman had the god given right, privilege and entitlement to go where ever he pleased, without curious or judgmental glances.  The crime here is the audacity of a black boy having the nerve to walk down a sidewalk in a neighborhood…just who does he think he is?  To the jury, Trayvon (whose instincts and actions were swaying between fight and flight due to a stranger following him) did not have a right to defend himself from a would be attacker.  Zimmerman: not guilty…and for me the introspection begins.
Stating the obvious, there are cultural differences that exist between white and black people.  The black and brown cultural differences, concerning the way we speak, the texture of our hair, our names, down to the way we walk and the foods we eat can be oddities for many whites.  Your know, like televangelist Pat Robinson being perplexed that black people eat macaroni and cheese on Thanksgiving and not green bean casserole.
Blacks have always been under the microscope by the larger white society.  These cultural differences and lack of understanding, leads to prejudgments based off of prejudices. These prejudices lead to many inequalities.  From employment and hiring practices, to institutions like our Justice System where it has been repeatedly documented that blacks receive harsher punishments than whites who commit the same or similar crimes.  No one is more aware and endures the harshness from these unwritten guiding principles more than black males in America.   In our society, our Justice System begins in the public and on our streets, where black men are guilty until proven innocent.  No court, no lawyers, or jury is needed because everyone is already an appointed judge. 

I am a huge fan of documentaries. Usually during February I make it a point to re-visit documentaries concerning black history .  The interesting thing is when I look at these documentaries that show old video footage of interviews or firsthand testimony, the things that were said back then are the same things that are being repeated today. Here we are, decades later, and we are still protesting some of the same exact discriminatory and racial practices.  The exact same type of racial bigotry that lead to thousands of blacks being killed throughout this country’s history by the hands of white mobs.  Emmett Till’s murderers being acquitted lead to Amadou Diallo’s murderous police officers being acquitted lead to Trayvon Martin’s murderer being acquitted.  Black male lives; like those of Oscar Grant III, 17 year old Jordan Davis (who was killed in Florida) or 13 year old Darius Simmons (who was killed in Milwaukee) is not as valuable as white lives.  Even when we operated within the confines of the law there is a chance that we can still be its victim.  Examples like John McNeil, Marissa Alexander, and John White verify that lady justice is not blind.
Following any one of these tragic events, the black community’s reaction is the same; marches, protests while chanting “no justice no peace”, town hall church meetings filled with “what the black community needs to do is…”  Basically the same reactionary things we have been doing for the last 30 to 60 years.  We are still talking about economic divides, unlawful-systematic incarcerations, police brutality and an unjust legal system. Institutionally, what has changed?
Walkin talkin dead, though we think we’re livin; black zombies. We just copy-cat, followin the system; black zombies” – Nas
In the last two weeks, I have viewed white, conservative, NRA tea-party promoting websites that use videos from world-star-hip-hop to prove to their followers that blacks are “a bunch of apes and monkeys who can’t be civilized” (direct quote from one site).  Many whites in our country view George Zimmerman as a hero who utilized his right to bear arms and protected his community against potential black male danger. They are gleeful at his acquittal. Similar to the way the white community viewed the men who killed Emmett Till.  Till was killed in 1955 for whistling at a white woman.  Fast forward to 2013 and Lil Wayne raps a comparison of Till’s death to “beating the pussy up” while the word “nigga” is repeated throughout his rap song.   So for me it begs to question: what role does the black community (or facets of it) play in this?  Do any of our attitudes and behaviors warrant this type of treatment? Or should I say, does our behavior, attitudes and how we view ourselves within the black community warrant this type of treatment?
Stab our own backs and dream too much without fulfillin reality; too greedy and can’t have one or two chains, we need three of dem. Can’t have one or two guns without squeezin ’em”  –  Nas
There is violence, abuse and death in any community, however which other community has songs and “murder carols” that promote and glorify self- degradation? It seems like we prefer to call ourselves niggas or boys and are allergic to calling ourselves men and brothers. If we view each other as the enemy, how do we expect those outside of the community to view us any differently?  How can we call for our lives to be valued when the opposition can always come back and say “well, what about Chicago”?
“What the black community needs to do is”…have complete philosophical and psychological mental overhaul.  Educational degrees or having a bible clutched in our hand doesn’t shield us from intolerance and institutionalized racism. The way we present ourselves to each other, and to the greater society, does matter.  No, you shouldn’t be judged by sagging pants to the point where you underwear or ass is showing and you have to walk like a penguin.  No, you shouldn’t be judged because you decide to mimic prison culture, rap culture, and athletic celebrity culture by having yourself tattooed from your head down to your toes.  No, you shouldn’t be judged because your regional dialect doesn’t sound like the proper King’s English….but you are nonetheless judged and profiled on these things.   We are just 13% of the population, so whether we like it or not, we need to have some type of societal assimilation so we can be more gainfully employed and increase our economic power.  This needs to happen not just so we can have a seat at the table,  it’s so we can have our own table.
What do we own? Not enough land, not enough homes, not enough banks, to give a brother a loan” – Nas
Speaking of economic power, black spending power is set to surpass 1 trillion dollars by 2015, yet our spending habits outpace the remaining population by 30 percent.  Through our poor spending habits, we facilitate the very people and corporations who oppress and oppose us because we give away our economic power.  I can literally go on and on about how we can improve our conditions but  I am pessimistic because we have already lost a generation (beginning in the 1970’s) of black men.  Many black boys come from fatherless homes and in turn become absentee fathers themselves due to influences of street culture, lack of morals and incarcerations.
We begged, we prayed, petitioned and demonstrated.  Just to make another generation – black zombies” – Nas
I am however, very optimistic about the one easy thing we can all do to help our present situation.  That one simple thing to do is to register to vote.  Registering to vote and voting is of course not the same thing.  Once you register, your name is added to the voting registrars list.  Names on this list are randomly chosen as potential jurors in criminal court cases.  If we had more black and brown people (who viewed serving on a jury as their civic duty) in the jury pool, it will increase the chances of actually becoming jurors.  Thus there would be a strong possibility that less black and brown people would be incarcerated and housed within our Prison Industrial Complex.  It also increases the chances that people like George Zimmerman would be convicted of a crime/s.  The more convictions you have for killing or hurting black people, maybe just maybe, our lives would be more valued in our society.
There is nothing wrong with gathering, marching and protesting.  It’s our Constitutional right but what is the old saying about the definition of insanity? At what point do we really begin to evolve as a black society or is it to late?
  Nas’s Black Zombie lyrical video is below