Published on August 19, 2022.
By: Christie Survival Eyong
Naive and young, he won a visa lottery to travel to America,
Little did he know that life here is different from Nigeria.
He did not realize his skin colour was an offence until he was pulled over by the police
He was not even aware of America’s history of slavery.
All he knew was that the grass looked greener on this side of the world
Even though the grass was perfect where he was.
Attempting retaliation, because of the way he was treated by the cops,
He ended up making matters worse.
The experience was a traumatic one for him
And in no time, he got to understand this discriminatory practice called racial profiling.
In America, being a Black man is difficult.
When your skin reflects crime,
When what is perceived at a first glance is the criminal you are
Even when you have done nothing wrong or illegal.
In America, being a Black man means the tendency to be cautious,
To pull yourself together when pulled over by the cops,
To stay silent even when you do not agree with what they do
Because if you do not comply or if you make any wrong move,
There is a likelihood that a bullet will pierce through your skin.
You are always at risk,
Even in your own neighbourhood.
The Black man is always armed and dangerous
Because of his shade of pigment.
His skin is a weapon.
Even when unarmed, he is still perceived as a menace.
His existence in itself is a threat.
In their eyes, animals stand before them.
They do not see humans
Because if they do,
They would not treat us like animals.
We would not be potential targets to the police
As prey is to a hunter.
Why they hate us so much remains a mystery.
When pondered, they are the ones that we see as threats.
They are the ones our souls dread.
In their hands, our lives are at risk.
The weapons that lie in their hips
Can end life in minutes.
The pain they inflict causes wounds within
That are life-long and can barely heal.
For the Black man, the police
Means fear, inconvenience, oppression, and modern-day slavery.
It means criminals who are always trigger-happy
Yet, get to go scot-free despite their behaviours.
People with the badge to justify their cruel actions.
A group of people in uniforms who do not need a reason to end your life.
They do not protect all, they protect their own.
Everyone else is put on death row
Solely for being alive.
You being sentenced to death is one of their ways to wipe out your kind from humanity.
They think the more Black men they kill,
The less they get to deal with.
But that is not the case or the reality.
The more they kill one of us,
The more they have to deal with us.
We do not want to stay silent anymore.
We want our voices to be heard no matter the cost.
It is hard to fight for our lives and the rights of the ones lost
When we are always targeted and constantly fit the description.
Life seems to be unfair to us,
Regardless, we are worth more than what life throws at us.
We are more than what others think about us.
How they see us does not define who we are.
If they cannot see the innocence and love in our eyes,
The beauty that lies in our skin,
The resilience that lives within,
The great minds amongst us,
If all they see is a group of people that are harmful and dangerous,
Then, they do not truly know us
Nor the Black man.
The Black man is a survivor of countless challenges,
Who keeps going despite it all.
He is a carrier of generational trauma,
But still, he chooses to pour out love.
He is the one that has always been a slave to your system — that is broken by design
To not favour his kind —
Yet never afraid to speak up.
He is the one who, despite all the pain you have caused him,
Does not intend to make you pay for it.
He is the one who would rather choose to heal
Than to hurt you.
Yet, you believe that he is a threat to you.
After using him as you please,
Where do you want him to go?
The home he knows is the supposed land of the free,
The land that claims equality to be its first principle.
You took him away from the home he once knew
And you cannot make him feel welcomed in the land he helped build.
The Black man deserves a place to call his home away from home.
He should not be scared that tonight, he might not make it home
Or even scared that his children might have it worse than he did
Solely because of the colour of their skin.
No one should live life knowing that he will always have a room ready for him in prison.
No one should live in constant fear of spending most of his life in prison,
Because even though he is innocent, he will always be found guilty.
If you try to paint a picture of the Black man,
You will see a work of art.
You will see a man that drips melanin.
You will see a complex being that is trying to heal
From the constant trauma he walks with throughout his life.
You will see an exceptional and complex mind,
A beautiful heart that holds so much love
But experiences tend to take that space meant for love
And freely give it to hatred and anger.
I dare you to take another look at the Black man.
I bet you will see something phenomenal,
An essence that sets him apart,
Something you have never seen before,
Because you chose to let go of your preconceived notions.
The narrative of the life of the Black man needs to be rewritten.
We might not know how to,
But we will do the little we can by speaking the truth from a Black perspective
Because no one will ever know the hurt of another soul
Until the story is told and it reveals where it hurts the most.
Christie Survival Eyong is a multi-talented young lady from Nigeria. She is an aspiring writer and an undergraduate International Business student at Carleton University. In her spare time, she enjoys organizing, writing, dancing, reading, cooking, and loves fashion, music and spreading positivity. She is currently on a personal growth journey which she has learned an array of self-love concepts from. She has learned that one can be a work of art while being a work in progress and that one can show up as their most authentic self in a world that strives for perfection.
Christie has always found a passion for writing, especially as a form of expression. She views writing as a creative outlet that enables her voice to be heard. She holds closely to her heart the writing blog she launched in 2020, Rise Up. On her blog, every month, she shares creative pieces with her loyal readers. Her creative pieces are greatly inspired by her experiences and her curiosity about different subject matters. She writes in hopes of creating awareness, impacting lives, and making a difference in the world to leave it better than she met it. She can be contacted via her email firstname.lastname@example.org.