It is often that I sit and watch the people around me. I take the time to observe their actions, mannerisms, thoughts, emotions, etc just in hopes to understand why we are so easily paralyzed by fear. In my opinion, FEAR is a four-letter word for captivity. We allow it to keep us prisoner to the possibilities of life. Now this is not to say that fear, in some cases,is not a rational option but regardless of the circumstance, fear serves as a box that traps us into over-analyzing the future due to the happenings of the past.
From the beginning of time, Blacks have been among the strongest races; not phased by harsh conditions or even the inevitable nature of death. We are constantly reminded of our history and the great legacies that we stand on. Yet we somehow have idolized our current situations to be worse than that of our ancestors. Now let me take a minute to establish what I really mean by “ancestors”. My use of this word is loose in the sense that I am stretching it to address every individual of color from slavery all the way up to today. Typically, the word “ancestors” would convey the idea that whatever individual(s) I’m referring to are deceased. That is not the case here.
In today’s society, it is interesting to see people, specifically Black people, react to any event that is important enough to make it on the 10 o’clock news that has any tie to race. We will gripe about it, become saddened by it, disappointed in our people and maybe even start a heated argument with a relative over it. But somehow we manage to direct these frustrations, however slight they may be, in the wrong way or at the wrong people. This doesn’t mean that I am promoting hatred towards white people or some sort of backlash primarily pointed at the white community. It has just become apparent to me that we abuse our right to complain but leave our right to freedom of assembly and protest to gather dust bunnies in the corner. The fear comes in when we allow ourselves to second guess the validity of our argument. Often times we don’t give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. In some sense, we silence ourselves… or should I say that we openly invite fear to do the silencing for us.
If I were to go out right now and ask people “What are the sources of fear in the Black community with the exception of police brutality?” I would be overwhelmed with the list that I would be given yet when we see opportunities to unite and put action behind the issues we converse about, everyone seizes up. At that moment, we have been hit with the possibility of FAILURE. At the end of the day, the fear of failure is what it all boils down to.
I asked my boyfriend that same question today and he replied that many people in the Black community fear change. I couldn’t agree more. Among other things, Blacks are the quickest race to fall into complacency. We allow ourselves the ability to get to a comfortable standpoint and then we stop. There is no more desire to be better than average. When presented with the idea of change, fear comes in and reminds us that defeat is always an option. It brainwashes us into believing that failure is inevitable.
On the outside looking in, one would think that all we fear is police officers but it is much more to the isolation of the Black community than just racial profiling, drug busts and murder. The fear that is in the black community resides in our own inner psyche rather than the holster of a Caucasian officer’s uniform.