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Wed Jul 17, 2013, 10:28 AM

Trayvon Martin and I Ain't Sh*t

Note at the top of the New Yorker Article - and background on the author: The following essay is an adaptation of a Facebook post by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson in response to George Zimmerman's acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Questlove is the drummer for the Roots and the bandleader on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/07/questlove-trayvon-martin-and-i-aint-shit.html


I recently told a friend one of these stories: I live in a "nice" building. I work hard. You know I work hard. My logic is (naïve alert in 5, 4, 3, 2 … ) "Well, there can't be any fear of any type in this building" — you've got to go through hell and high water just to get accepted to live here, like it's Dartmouth or UPenn. Secondly, there are, like, five to eight guards on duty 24/7, so this spot is beyond safe. Like, Oscar winners and kids of royalty and sports guys and mafia goombahs live here. One night, I get in the elevator, and just as the door closes this beautiful woman gets on. Because of a pain in the arse card device you have to use to get to your floor, it just makes it an easier protocol for whoever is pressing floors to take everyone's request, like when you are at the window of a drive-thru. So I press my floor number, and I ask her, "What floor, ma'am?" (Yes, I say "ma'am," because … sigh, anyway.) She says nothing, stands in the corner. Mind you, I just discovered the Candy Crush app, so if anything, I'm the rude one because I'm more obsessed with winning this particular level than anything else. In my head I'm thinking, There's no way I can be a threat to a woman this fine if I'm buried deep in this game — so surely she feels safe.

The humor comes in that I thought she was on my floor because she never acknowledged my floor request. (She was also bangin', so inside I was like, "Dayuuuuuuuuuuum, she lives on my floor? *bow chicka wowow*!" Instantly I was on some "What dessert am I welcome-committee-ing her with?") Anywho, the door opens, and I waited to let her off first because I am a gentleman. (Old me would've rushed first, thus not putting me in the position to have to follow her, God forbid if she, too, makes a left and it seems like I'm following her.) So door opens and I flirt, "Ladies first." She says, "This is not my floor." Then I assume she is missing her building card, so I pulled my card out to try to press her floor yet again. She says, "That's okay."

Then it hit me: "Oh God, she purposely held that information back." The door closed. It was a "pie in the face" moment. I laughed at it. Sort of.

Inside I cried. But if I cried at every insensitive act that goes on in the name of safety, I'd have to be committed to a psych ward. I've just taught myself throughout the years to just accept it and maybe even see it as funny. But it kept eating at me (Well, I guess she never watched the show … My English was super clear … I called her "ma'am" like I was Webster … Those that know you know that you're cool, but you definitely know that you are a walking



If you aren't familiar with his writing - he's a good a read. He lends humor to the experiences of black men - but at the same time - shows . . . you know what?

Does anyone EVER think that their prejudices might HURT someone at an emotional and human dignity level? He also shows in this piece - you know what? It's not always about you! I was just trying to level up in Candy Crush.

9 replies, 1305 views

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Trayvon Martin and I Ain't Sh*t (Original post)
JustAnotherGen Jul 2013 OP
jaysunb Jul 2013 #1
1StrongBlackMan Jul 2013 #3
jaysunb Jul 2013 #6
JustAnotherGen Jul 2013 #7
1StrongBlackMan Jul 2013 #8
JustAnotherGen Jul 2013 #9
1StrongBlackMan Jul 2013 #2
jaysunb Jul 2013 #5
Number23 Jul 2013 #4

Response to JustAnotherGen (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 09:41 PM

1. Not familiar w/ the writer, but

I know all to well everything he wrote.

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Response to jaysunb (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 18, 2013, 09:13 PM

3. Interesting ...

how little attention this thread has received.

So tell me again how white liberals really, really want a constructive dialogue on race.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 18, 2013, 11:03 PM

6. Please don't act so surprised.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #3)

Fri Jul 19, 2013, 06:30 AM

7. I have to agree

Because - this gets to a raw emotional impact of other people's unconscious actions that have been ingrained in them. It holds a mirror up.

And it also shows that in spite of their mother telling them, "there is no difference between you and THEM". There is. I think there are some posters who get this that are not AA.

But for every single one that does - there are three who will take this Man's life experience personally and go out of their way to say - well he must have been acting suspicious.

Until they understand that in their subconscious - black and male IS suspicious - they can't "get it".

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #7)

Fri Jul 19, 2013, 08:26 AM

8. Yep ...

I wonder if I had written this same piece ... whether it would have been received differently by those other 3 DUer who on a regular basis attempt to tell Black DUers what is and what is not racist?

... Maybe Questlove's celebrity intimidates them?

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #8)

Fri Jul 19, 2013, 10:30 AM

9. Funny

I think it would have been. And they would have jumped in cheering about something written by Bill Cosby . . .

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Original post)

Thu Jul 18, 2013, 09:11 PM

2. Yep …

Last edited Fri Jul 19, 2013, 08:28 AM - Edit history (1)

He speaks to the psychic damage done to Black men on a near daily basis.

How do you describe the pain felt when you, dressed in a suit and tie and carrying a brief case, catch the elevator door in your office building, at 9:00a.m. … only to have the white woman, you just saw enter the elevator, take one look at you, clutch her purse to her chest and push by you to make her “escape”? You know it was an “escape” because approximately one minute later, you see that same woman exiting the elevator bank next to the one you just got off of.

Now, I suppose, the woman was suddenly struck with milk-mouth and she got off the elevator to get a drink of water. But we can only tell ourselves that; but so many times.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 18, 2013, 10:55 PM

5. Stress is a killer...

For black men, it starts the day you step out of your mothers shadow. It will break you down physically and mentally each and everyday of your (probably) short life. The only respite is when in the company of of your own people.....

We have NOT overcome.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Original post)

Thu Jul 18, 2013, 10:52 PM

4. Love him, JAG. Thanks for posting.

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