I am educated. I am a man, brother, father, uncle, friend, and a human being. No matter what propaganda is put in the media about the Black man to defame, demolish, squash, belittle, or portray me as some angry animal, it will not work. Because I will not subscribe to it.
I have been reading up on the Trayvon Martin incident since it hit the media. The more I read, the more worried and afraid I become. I am worried and afraid not because I am a Black man, but because I am HoH.
I am amazed at some of the comments I have read. I am amazed at how most Americans continue to think that just because we have a Black President, the isms beginning with racism is a non issue. It’s amazing how most humans would rather wait until something terrible happens to begin a dialogue about the core history of America that continues to plague our progress together as a people.
As a Black HoH man I suffer every possible stereotype known to humankind. First I suffer the Black man stereotypes. Next I suffer the disability stereotypes. Yes it’s a double whammy, everyday until I meet my maker.
I get stopped by the cops because I drive a nice car that I worked hard to pay for. I get stopped not because of the car, but because I am a Black man that looks suspicious in a nice car. You can imagine because it looks like I am dealing drugs to get this car.
Then the officer finds out I am HoH. He or she then calls the D.C. HoH unit to the scene. The unit has trained officers that can use American Sign Language to communicate. D.C. should be applauded. This means my wait time to get whatever ticket is longer.
I am followed in every store I enter. Every time I walk past a white woman in public, she cringes and clings to her purse. Every time I use my pictured Bank of America card in stores, I am asked for additional identification.
I often walk home from happy hour because the cabs will not stop for me. When I finally get a cab, it is another Black man behind the wheel. He would smile and apologize because he knows what I had to go through to get him to give me a ride. Only to learn that I am HoH when he tries to have a conversation, and then something else happens.
The conversation dies immediately. That’s okay because I can understand how awkward it is to try to communicate with someone who can’t hear everything unless he is reading your lips. But get this, I can talk fluently like every hearing person can. The only thing is I have to face you to do that.
Rest assured, my close friends and family will tell you that I am not one to sit and complain regardless of my situation. I believe I have accomplished a lot in my life and continue to strive for excellence in everything that I do. But the Trayvon killing has finally hit home and I am not here to complain.
Instead, I am here to ask everyone of you to please, PLEASE, all of us do some serious soul searching and join this campaign to reduce, eliminate and stop these senseless violent acts against us, Black men, women, and those that are not white. I facilitate dialogues where I work. These dialogues are intended to help us come together to stop bullying and the isms.
You might wonder why I am writing this my first blog about a very controversial issue. The reason is because I am terrified at the injustice toward Black men.
What if I was walking home in my hoodie in my predominantly Black neighborhood where we all look suspicious because of our skin color and someone like Zimmerman called after me to stop because I looked suspicious? I can not hear when someone is calling after me from behind, therefore, as you can guess, I would be dead! This is what I am worried and scared about.
I am not Trayvon who could hear and respond to Zimmerman. But he is dead even though he can hear. I cannot and you cannot tell if I am Deaf or HoH unless I begin to use American Sign Language or talk. Therefore, as a Black Deaf man I feel that my life is in danger.
I am not asking anyone to feel sorry for me. This is not about me. This is about Trayvon Martin. He didn’t have to die. I am asking everyone to put their differences aside and see that justice is done. I am asking that we not sit and wait for something to happen to us, our family members, our friends, our neighborhoods, and close ones before we feel the need to participate in justice for all. Trayvon didn’t have to die.
[Editor's Note: The original version of this article was first posted in kramissah on March 30, 2012.]