Thoughts on recent events I

I’m only posting this because it occurred to me today, that perhaps this story will help those of my social media friends that do not seem to grasp the angst, understand what it’s all about.

April 4, 1968 – When I was almost (12 days shy of) 6 years old, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It was (literally) a life changing experience. My parents, (and probably ALL of the adults that I knew) were devastated… Completely devastated… My parents (an immigrant, and the daughter of immigrants) had hope, you see, hope in Dr. King’s dream. They stood on the mall in DC and heard him say those words, me in the stroller, and my sister in my Mom’s womb…They had Hope that the very words that he spoke that day could come true. Hope for their children, hope for America, hope for themselves…
I was sad, as only little kids can be sad… Not fully intellectually aware, but sensorially acute.
I remember I had been given an American flag, probably by my Dad, (the proudest to be an American immigrant that I know) and in my anger, I snapped the little wooden stick that it was stapled to… and a splinter went in my eyeball. A quick trip to Brooklyn eye and ear hospital (long closed) took care of that, and I was back in business…

November 2008 -40 years later, we were on the phone together, as the 44th President of these United States was elected, and stood with his family in a park in Chicago, in the rain, and spoke words of Hope. My parents wept, as did I. We had our disagreements, (and I was/am not a fan of the man), but his election MEANT something, for my parents it meant that there was still Hope

August 2016– 8 years later, I’m driving my Dad’s car in Brooklyn, NY with its Georgia license plates, two American flags on the dashboard, and the flag of Aruba (his birthplace) on the back window… Turning onto Eastern Parkway, I get pulled over by the police, who approach the car from either side, one (passenger side) has his gun drawn. They look in the car, see me, my wife next to me, and my Dad, Daughter and Mom across the back seat… I was polite, kept both hands on the wheel, and was polite to a fault.
The P.O. literally tells me that they pulled me over for a non-working signal light, but that as they approached the car, the signal light began to work, so they were letting me go.
(This is of course a complete lie, as once you complete a turn, the signal light automatically turns back off, but who am I to argue)
They wished me a nice day… I drove off, and minutes later, my 84 year old Dad began to cry… PTSD, you see…

He’s been called “NIGGER” so very many times since coming to this country that he loves so much… He was proud to serve in the US Army (even before he was a citizen) taking untold abuse from racist fellow soldiers, superiors, etc because of his beautiful (still at almost 85) richly melanated brown skin…

He’s been pulled over, verbally assaulted, baited and threatened in the middle of the night by police officers while driving alone in the deep south, he’s been bypassed for advancement in employment, he’s seen his wife and children hassled… It was all too much…
For him to see that this still goes on, In 2016 , and now impacts his grandchildren, was too much.

I share his name, his melanin, and his pain. It is consistent, and it is something that causes me stress regularly. But I have to continue to push forward, believing that the land of my birth, the land that I love does in fact love me, even if many in it don’t, and many others find me threatening and fear inducing simply because of the melanin.

I have to have Hope, you see, because I have progeny, deeply melanated, deeply opinionated, beautiful, eloquent, progeny, and she deserves better than what’s she’s presented with. So, I cannot give up, neither can my Dad.

“With the rhythm it takes to dance through what we have to live through, we can walk on the water and not get wet..” – George Clinton


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