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We’ve come a long way in America, but Black folks are still not free

If I could speak freely, I’d say that after all the marches and protests this summer and fall, Black Lives still don’t matter to us all.

Mothers hold up a sign at a protest in Little Village held to support Black Lives Matter and anti-violence efforts.
Mothers hold up a sign at a protest in Little Village held to support Black Lives Matter and anti-violence efforts.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

If I could write without fear of offending, what would I say? That the liberal policies of well-meaning, guilt-ridden white folk have done more to cripple Black folk than to lift Black folk. We never asked to be your welfare case.

If I could write without fear of offending, I’d say, don’t feed me, teach me. Don’t integrate me, nor segregate me. I’d say that no man has the power to liberate me.

That we were born free. Created free. Predestined to be free.

See me. See us. See that we live, move, breathe and we bleed — the same color as you.

See that this too is true: We need a hand up, not a hand out. Not generational, self-perpetuating welfare chains. Equality. Not jaded justice. Not American hypocrisy.

If I could write without political correctness, I’d say that “guilt” is a poor substitute for repentance.

So pass me with the guilt and shame. For that won’t prevent me as a Black man from becoming the end of the hashtag, “sayhisname”

Guilt and shame do not prevent the commission of sins present or in the future. One’s conscience may be soothed by the self-placating ointment of guilt.

But the healing balm of repentance brings redemption, frees the soul. Makes one whole.

Moreover, of what value is my guilt, if I do not mend my ways? How fair is a broken system, which continues to perpetuate systemic racial hate?

And if you legislate policy but do not tend to weightier matters of the soul, how many afflictions and un-American contradictions will our Black souls have to bear beneath these symbols that insist we dwell in the land of the free? Why is freedom still only an illusion for folks Black like me?

…I’d say that Joe Biden is not our savior. But Donald Trump was certainly not our friend. And in another four years, we get to vote again.

If I could tell my truth without worry of backlash, I’d say that after 60 years as a man born Black in America that so much of America still hates my black ass.

I’d say, to hell with the NFL, with its milquetoast nod to Black Lives Matter. Apologize to Colin Kaepernick! And when Kap says all is well, holler at me sometime after.

If I could speak freely, I’d say that after all the marches and protests this summer and fall, Black Lives still don’t matter to us all. I’d ask, “How come young Black men don’t heed the call?”

Or why, in Black neighborhoods across this nation, the preponderance of murder and violence is inflicted upon Black Lives by Black Lives without hesitation? Why do we blame all of our ill decisions on systemic oppression?

If I could speak the truth in love — as God is my witness above — without risk of being labeled “sellout” or “Uncle Tom,” I’d say that we have too much wasted precious time, waiting for our oppressor to come liberate us, or a descending Black Messiah.

Meanwhile, we succumb to assorted poverty pimps — political and clergical — who sift us for their own desires.

If I could speak without fear of antagonizing the Afro-stocracy, miseducating Black-ademics, and those so-called Black leaders who rode our backs to their own brighter day, I’d ask,

“When you coming back around this way?”

If I could speak freely, I’d say that white accountability does not absolve us of Black responsibility. But a man can’t pull himself up by his own bootstraps when all he’s got is his bare feet.

I’d say that we’ve come a long way in America, baby. But ain’t no way in hell I’m free.

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