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Sun Nov 1, 2015, 09:08 AM

"Just 'being' black is a crime."

Let's make this clear: I don't give a damn what that girl was doing in class. I don't care if she was talking on her phone, I don't care if she refused to be sent out of class and stayed in her seat.


What I give a damn about is trying to get those of you not born in our skin to try to imagine what it is like. We all know about the deaths of black youngsters—they are in the news each week. I really need to talk about just what it is like to be born with black skin in the U.S. of A. in the midst of all this. I need for you to listen, absorb the message (or try to), and then join us in taking action against racism.

Don't just talk at me about income inequality. I get it. I'll fight for us to have economic equity. However, there is no bottle of whiteout that will miraculously make me look like you and erase my visible difference. No green is going to wipe away the original sin you've cast us in. We'll still be black.


Life, for us, is an alphabet soup.

We've got a bunch of acronyms for various activities that black Americans and other people of color can't engage in without being targeted by police, store employees, security guards, someone's neighbor, or people with phone apps designed to report "sketchy behavior." Some of them are:

DWB—Driving while black
SWB—Shopping while black (which also stands for swimming while black)
WWB— Walking while black
JWB—Jogging while black
LWB—Laughing while black
PWB—Praying while black
WOYDWB—Walking out your door while black, which segues into:
TWB—Trespassing while black (even when the trespassing is in your own apartment building
BWB—Breathing while black, since Eric Garner and Anthony Baez couldn't breathe in chokeholds.


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