A little while ago, the family invited a few friends to join us as we wined and dined my grandma for her 80th birthday. Well, there wasn’t any wine, but there was soda because who does not need sugary fizzy drinks? It was nothing fancy, but just a lot of eating and talking and laughing. It was a surprise for my grandma, so she was especially happy and grateful.
After we ate, everyone was trying to take pictures outside while simultaneously also trying to figure out who would be going in what car. We did not notice when my cousins left. One was Toby, Aunt Chinelo’s only son, and one was Kenneth, Aunt Chinelo’s step-son, and two were Ebube and Chinedum, Uncle Joe’s sons. Their ages ranged from 14 to 20 – Toby being the youngest and Chinedum being the oldest. Kenneth drove.
It was while we were taking pictures that Aunt Chinelo and Uncle Joe started looking for their children and they realized that they had all left together. Then the panic started. Both Aunt Chinelo and Uncle Joe started calling their children (on their cell phones) to find out their whereabouts.
Aunt Chinelo said she did not like it when all the boys were together. I understood that to mean that when they are all together, they might become disruptive because after all, that was what they did when they were much younger, playing their balls inside the house and breaking items. But no, that was not what Aunt Chinelo meant, and that was not why Uncle Joe was panicking either.
The problem was that neither of them wanted the four boys to be in one car because they were all young, black boys riding in a car together – while still being black. Everybody knows what can happen when that happens.
Thankfully, they did not get pulled over. Sometimes, as Africans, we forget that in America, we are Black, too. If Black America has a problem, then we too, have a problem. If Black America wins, then we win, too. Therefore, if a prejudiced cop had pulled my cousins over for driving while black, the cop would not have asked about their kind of blackness, if it was the American type or the African type.
I am not of the impression that all cops are bad, or that all Black people are innocent. And I may be wrong, but I do not believe that any cop signed up to be a cop, just so that they can exert brutality on Black people, nor do I think that any of the cops who killed innocent Black people woke up that morning and thought, “Hmm, today seems like a good day to kill an innocent Black person.” Still, this is our reality now.
It’s sad that it has come to this. I wish there was an app to get world peace, and I wish things were different, but dear Africans, please remember that you and your sons (and even your daughters – because Sandra Bland) are Black in America. It takes nothing away from our Africaness, but White (and Black) America does not care what kind of Black you are.
All the same, I’m raising my fist to Black Power. And Black Lives Matter.
P.S. I was supposed to post the Ask Me Anything video this morning (because we recorded it yesterday), but when I tried to edit it yesterday, I realized it was all blurry. So we’ll be rerecording.