“Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you”… Douglas Adams
Earlier this week, I was heading into the city for work in my car when I came across something that at one point or another many people of color (BLACK MEN), have experienced or will experience in their lifetime. It was a cold, wet and nasty morning commute. So I know for a fact nobody wants to be standing outside all day if he/she can avoid it. In front of me at a traffic light was a taxi unoccupied. How do I know? The light was on and here inAmerica; if the light of a taxi is on, that generally means the driver is looking for a customer. Therefore, it is expected that patrons will try to flag it down or rush to grab it before someone else takes it. If the light is off, the taxi is not looking for a customer, so you can safely ignore it.
So you all know what happened next RIGHT?
You see what had happened was…… As the traffic light turned green and the taxi proceeded to move forward, an African American male dressed in a heavy black coat in his early to mid 20s right in front of us tried to flag the cab down to but to no prevail as the driver just sped up with the quickness. More disappointing however; was how the taxi driver within a block’s distance of snubbing the black guy had no problems weaving in and out of traffic to pick up (YOU GUESSED IT) a professionally dressed white female. All I could do at this point after witnessing all this was SMH!
I almost had the urge to speed up and get a closer look at the driver in hopes of me reassuring myself that he was not African but then I thought to myself what difference would that have made and I also did not want to experience the further disappointment in my own people.
Here is the ugly truth; less than a week ago here in the DMV a cab driver was allegedly shot and killed in a dispute over a 75-cent difference in taxi fare after he repeatedly told his 20 year old assailant that he was transporting he didn’t have any money on him. The murdered taxi driver went as far as taking off his pants to prove that he didn’t have any money on him but was still fired at. This is another PRIME example of Black on Black crime at its worst.
So I didn’t really know who to take issue with on that morning commute. Should I be upset with the taxi driver that deliberately ignored the black male for transport maybe out of fear of his life? Or the black kid who killed the innocent cab driver over a 75-cent dispute and now has messed things up for other Black men who require the use of taxis to get around in the city?
Being a Muslim/Nigerian/African-American/Black male I have always and continue to fight against the perceptions people have against things they are uncomfortable unfamiliar or ignorant to. As I have stated from the very beginning, I only started to blog primarily in part due to all the negativity, stereotypes, images and perceptions I have lived with in my existence and seen in my community. I will not change nor do I expect you to. What I only ask is that you educate yourself and those around you before you pass judgment on to others.
I have come to understand that life as an African-American/Nigerian male forces you to have thick skin. You are scrutinized, labeled and even dismissed by those who somehow believe they are better than you without conducting a self-inventory of themselves. Yes, the perceptions of others do become who we are if we conform to them. And for those that know me personally, you know I refuse to give into what you want me to be, look like or say. In the words of slim shady;
Cause I am
Whatever you say I am
If I wasn’t, then why would I say I am?
In the papers, the news everyday I am
I don’t know it’s just the way I am (Eminem)
So if you ain’t with me – Then Get from Me…
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