Heavy Heart and Headiness

In this season of giving thanks and for all intents and purposes of good cheer I find myself both with a heavy heart and feeling a little headiness.  Heavy hearted for the fact that another African American male has died at the hands of a known assailant and yet no one is to be held accountable for his death.

Heavy hearted because no matter if you know the victim or not as an African American male you carry the weight of his death as if it was your own or one of an immediate member of your family.  Heavy hearted because with every instance of such public deaths a portion of you dies and yet you are still conscious enough to ask yourself why and what can be done to prevent such occurrences from happening again.  However, in those instances I remember Emmitt Till, Johnny Mae Chappell and Fred Hampton and the countless others that died the same kinds of public deaths only to have their perpetrators go knowingly free.

Heavy hearted because you want to believe in those who have sworn to protect and serve and in a system of laws.  Yet the realty is you know that our lighter shade of brown brethren don’t die because of loose cigarettes, loud music, whistling at women of a different race or simply walking through neighborhoods at night with nothing more than Skittles and ice tea.

Hang ups, let downs

Bad breaks, set backs

Natural fact is

I can’t pay my taxes

Oh, make me wanna holler

And throw up both my hands

Yea, it makes me wanna holler

And throw up both my hands

Crime is increasing

Trigger happy policing

Marvin Gaye

Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)

The headiness I feel is paralyzing because as a conscious African American male you want to over stand because to understand may cause you to miss something that can be the difference between life and death.   Therefore, you relive both your youth and your present for instances when you could have been a cautionary tale about what can happen when you forget the rules of code switching.  And you immediately account for the young African American males you are responsible for to make sure that you have taught them the rules of engagement.

There is a level of headiness as you try to find a plausible escape for the emotions that you feel when your entire humanity has been reduce to a hash tag that simply says black lives matter.  However, the moment I have to remind you of my humanity as a man, in particular an African American man is the moment I have lost because it gives you the right to not see me as human and therefore my right to exist becomes a matter of your judgment.

That’s My Truth and I AM Sticking to It


Dr. Irvin PeDro Cohen

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