Questlove: “Trayvon Martin and I Ain’t Shit”
This is one of the most eye-opening articles I’ve ever read:
Anyone who isn’t White understands that there are things that Caucasians will never experience, feel, or even think about. This piece by Questlove takes the cake. It really makes you think about the society in which we live–to constantly live in fear based on the color of someone’s skin, or even their gender seems crazy, but it’s reality. I wish it wasn’t true, but that’s how life is right now.
What are your reactions?
A couple comments stood out to me and are worth sharing:
Dear sweet man, whom I do not know,
I never comment on posts such as these, rarely ever read the comments because of the vitriol spewed through bitter fingers on keyboards, but I want to thank you for sharing your inner-most pain. Your transparency and vulnerability helps so many and adds to the understanding of those who really, really want to try and figure out why so many of us believe and KNOW that the Zimmerman/Martin case was about race…and hatred and fear.
I’ve reached out, too, and perhaps for a stronger reason, because I felt the need to tell you that I would have been afraid of being on the elevator alone with you had you been white, short, bald, or blue with polka dots – because you are a man. I wish that wasn’t a true statement for me and countless other women, but the truth is we have to be a bit afraid/careful of our male counterparts, statistically speaking, and usually from our previous experiences in life. Yes, undertones and still strong overtones of “white women be afraid of black men” (though historically implanted by a white male-dominated system) were at play in the elevator. My guess is that she feared you as a man, first. That is sad, too.
Forgive me for not knowing who you are or about your talents, though now I know about your heartaches. I don’t own a television anymore, but social media and the internet invites communication and connection with all sorts of people who would never get to share thoughts and conversations for all sort of reasons. We are, however, now conversing…and creating change.
I wish you well in your endeavors, but mostly I wish you peace. Far from excrement, you are a gem and your kind, gentle spirit comes through. Take care and may peace and comfort be with you all the days of your life.
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5 Days Ago
What I find interesting are the number of comments trying to tell Quest that he is somehow incorrect (or flat out wrong) in his assessment of the elevator situation. Actually I’m curious that an anecdote meant to supplement a bigger point is overshadowing the main point to begin with. It’s easy to play the what if game with what if Quest were white, what if Quest were a woman, would the scenario have played out the same? Chances are nope, the scenario probably wouldn’t have.
See, I’m a little guy, 5’7″ my hairs relatively short, and I’m not famous (yet), but a long time ago, I became aware that I tended to go out of my way when I found out I was traveling the same direction as a woman as well, because I knew I was making her uncomfortable, so I’d take a different route, or I’d slow down and give her a good lead. Black men don’t come to this kind of understanding because we went to the same school. We’re aware of how we get stereotyped and that that perception in addition to making people uncomfortable can also be danger . . . to us.
My own elevator story. I work in a hospital. I was getting off work when one of the patients (an older (not hot) white woman was standing at the elevator. Door opens we get on. “What floor?” I ask being next to the panel. The lady suddenly blurts out, “Oh, I left something in the office and gets off. I don’t think about it, but the next day the receptionist is laughing because the women went back in and said, “There was a scary Black man at the elevators.”
Now I wear shrubs or a suit to work. Have no tats or facial scarring, and I’m always polite and professional. I don’t think I’m that scary. And if the woman hadn’t told the people in the office I work at what her motivations were, I’d never have known and people like the ones commenting on Questlove’s story would be saying I was off base in any assumptions I might have come up with.
This is the society we live in folks, trying to excuse it and rationalize it is a big part of the problem. And even if you could, it doesn’t negate the hurt that guys like Questlove, myself and many other Black men feel because of it.
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