You all know that I love posts from guest bloggers. Today, I will be sharing a post from one of my favorite male feminists: Robert Isaac. He had somethings he wanted to share with you guys and upon completing my first review of the article, I knew that you would enjoy. I hope that you read with an open mind and motivated heart:
PERCEPTION vs REALITY
We know that the deck has been stacked against us for as long as we have been in this country. We know that the value placed on the lives of people of color, in this country, is minimal at best. Two sets of rules have long been the standard when it comes to interpreting the rule of law: for these reasons, it is imperative that WE stop worrying about the latest shoe that’s coming out, the hottest song on the radio, the latest drama on the Real Housewives…the list goes on and on. We have to focus on the things that will actually make a difference for us: EDUCATION… In addition to working to elect politicians who have a sense of what the needs of African-Americans are, we need to actively prepare our youth to become these politicians. Instead of steering clear of police officers, we should be preparing our kids to go to the police academy. Instead of fearing the practices of judges who legislate from the Bench, we should steer our kids to an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, and motivate them to go on to law school to become the next generation of lawyers…and then the next generation of judges. We have to put an end to the way people perceive us by showing respect for ourselves. Pull your pants up! Speak clearly and intelligently. Promote the good being done by people who look like you instead of spreading the negative things that happen. The news does enough of that for us.
I know that not everyone has the financial means to go on to college, but that isn’t the only avenue to pursue higher learning. For those of us who have been fortunate enough to grace the halls of an institution of higher learning, it is our responsibility to spread that information to anyone who will listen. We have no right to withhold this information from our neighbor who wasn’t able to go to college. At the same time, we have no right to waste our time waiting on other people to do things for us. If you stand by and do nothing to make things better for us as a whole, then you are just as responsible for the dismal conditions and the continued faux perception placed on us as those who are actively trying to make the world see us in this light. No, you won’t be able to do it alone. But if you reach out to a few people who are undoubtedly in your circle of friends who could benefit from your knowledge and each of your friends did the same, then it won’t be long before you notice that everyone close to you will be in a better situation on some level.
The “trial” of George Zimmerman in Florida should shine a spotlight on “perception vs reality”. The perception of “us” was on full display by the defense attorneys throughout the case, it was on display on news channels like FOX News, and it was on full display via Conservative talk radio. Instead of making the case focus on Zimmerman, they successfully put Travon Martin on trial as if he was to blame for his own death…And they won because the perception of what a black person is all about in this country overruled what we as African-Americans know to be the reality…no matter what “Reality TV” suggests. Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO was portrayed in the same manner. Conservatives often suggested that Mike’s death was his own fault and immediately pointed to his actions BEFORE he had even encountered the police officer in the street. The reality is that what matters is what happened while he was in the officer’s presence. Unfortunately, perception won the day. Conservative talking heads in the media are doing the very same thing with Sandra Bland. It has even been suggested that her refusal to put out a cigarette was the catalyst for the escalation of events on the day she was pulled over for a traffic violation. The perception is that she was non-compliant, when in reality, the police officer overstepped his boundaries, violated the public trust, and used his lawful authority in an illegal manner. While we have been, and continue to be, wronged in our supposed just society, we must also look inward to whole-hardheartedly change the perception of how we are viewed for the sake of our friends and families.
Our lives, and our children’s lives, are literally at stake.