Following the verdict over the killing of Michael Brown, the American comedian and commentator W. Kamau Bell wrote an article in which he expresses a heart-felt worry for being a Black Male, Six Feet Four Inches Tall, in America in 2014.
#ManchesterToFerguson Solidarity Vigil for Mike Brown at The University of Manchester
I don’t engage in any type of behavior that should place me in a cop’s crosshairs. I don’t live in “one of those neighborhoods,” or hang out with a “bad crowd,” (unless you count comedians). I am not involved in felonious activity. I’m not bragging. I’m just boring. But the fact that I’m not involved in any of that stuff doesn’t leave me any more confident I won’t be killed. That’s because I’ve been endowed with the triple crown of being killed for no good reason: big, black, and male.
Reading this article moved me, it moved me from within, reminding me of all the things Black people have to go through every day.
The killing of Michael Brown has scattered conversation movements, offline and online, on social media and none. Somebody asked somewhere on Fb why we are talking “so” much about the death of this black boy, as if it was just a “black” issue, as if white people don’t get killed and receive injustice too.
I need somebody to tell me where this person was when my people were being taken from their land, when they were being stolen from Africa to be enslaved. I need somebody to tell me where this person was when my people were being enslaved between 1619 and 1865, when they were nothing more than animals or beasts! Two hundred and forty six years of slavery, ninety-nine years of post-enslavement and emancipation, a freedom in sign of equality but coloured by mockery!
I have three things to tell this person:
- Read books
- Talk less
- Think more
To be Black is not simply the colour of one’s skin, it’s a lot more. To be Black comes with a luggage that no aircraft would be able to accommodate; and when one is Black, Big and Male is a lot of things.
To be Black, Female and Working Class is another story all over again. Because I am a triple minority, BFW, I don’t laugh when my flatmates make racist jokes thinking they are funny; being BFW is the reason why I don’t expect them to understand the concept of Identity. Being BFW is the reason why I ignore shop owners following me in shops or people questioning my hair.
I got told by somebody that I always take everything on racial level. Being BFW is the reason why I smile, ignore and keep my thoughts for myself.
Being Black is a lot of things, and we talk “so” much about this because otherwise no one will do it; because we are overrepresented as criminals, but underrepresented as victims; because we are at the bottom of the social ladder; because we get killed when we fight to be liberated by the oppression of uncommitted guilt; because we are ignored as human and social beings and because it is always about the white thing and never about the right thing.
See, it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing. It’s about understanding. It’s about understanding that we are talking “so” much about Mike Brown, about Mark Duggan, about Azelle Rodney, about Christopher Alder, about Trayvon Martin, about Tamir Rice, about all the other young Black Males taken away by the hand of the system, because Black people’s life matter, and no one holds the authority to end it under any circumstances.
To the person who asked why we are talking “so” much about the killing of Michael Brown as if it was a “black” problem, as if white people don’t face these issues as well, I want to say this: if you feel the need to ask such a question, please go back to get a Primary Education, and then maybe I can have a conversation with you.
 Vanity Fair, http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/11/w-kamau-bell-black-in-america, last accessed on 28/11/014