Come on now, black folk! Let the white man have this one. We all knew if The Juice screwed-up that they would come after him like vicious wolves. We had to know. Even with our secret and boastful support of OJ Simpson we were aware that this time around he was going down. Well, I knew this. You?
I recall the previous day that OJ was found Not Guilty. I was living in Antigua at the time. Antiguans were glued to their radios. I was on a transport, small van designed to seat eight people, but typically for developing countries their were at the least 18 people riding toward St. John’s on this day, the capital city of the island. When the verdict was read the van started to bounce like the Scooby Doo van! Literally, we were bouncing off the ground. The joy that was expressed was surprisingly remarkable. I was feeling elated and I had that feeling you get when you are hoping that something goes your way when in fact you know it should not. That small taste of guilt for feeling the way I did not last long. How could it? I was on a van with my fellow Antiguans singing and banking-heading down a dangerous one lane road!
This morning (Saturday, October 04, 2008) I am not happy. I am disappointed. I am disturbed. My Saturday mood is stained with the vision of OJ getting handcuffs placed around his wrist and him crying. Why am I so distraught? I asked myself that over and over again on my walk to the coffee lounge. When I arrived the answer hit me after I saw my friend standing behind the counter. He was chatting with a customer. A white female who by the way was drinking a beer at 8AM. At that moment my thought process went here:
One of the owners (my friend) of this place is a black man. He on all accounts has fulfilled one of his dreams. He is successful. He is educated. He is loved by all his patrons. However, with all the accolades that I can continue to list about this black man he could have walked out the very same door I walked into this morning last night, and could have been accused of robbing the place. Why? Because he is BLACK.
No, I am not making any excuses for Mr. Simpson or attempting to make white people feel guilty. Not that many would anyway! I am not even ‘supporting’ him on this one. What I am doing is trying to establish a social parallel.
Here is my sleepy attempt:
It does not matter who and/or what you are in America if you are a black man. You are still their n*gger that they will GET if you give them a reason. (Well, slow ya roll Brian, Barack Obama has some how changed countless minds. He does have their liberal support for now – but when they have that moment of alone time behind that voting booth curtain they will have this thought I am CERTAIN: ‘Should I really vote for a black man.’) The photo above could be a snapshot of any black man reading this attempt to express myself. Think about it, all that had to happen to you was something similar to what OJ experienced in Vegas months back. You could have been trying to retrieve something that was stolen from you. For example, I could have tried to get back my cherished and valuable portraits of Muhammad Ali and Fidel Castro from a theft.
Also, it could be a picture of the owner of Lattetude, Antoine McNeal in the silver wrist jewelry. Remember, he was in fact leaving a building late last night (his place of business). Any white or black cop could have thought he was a crook. And, if my boy would have protested he would have what? Been in handcuffs and later in a cell all weekend!
Again, let them have this one. No need to issue a statement of support for OJ Simpson. He is going to jail for the rest of his life regardless of what we say or do. Our energy on this day should be directed toward teaching our young black boys what it means to be a black man in America. Perhaps, if we do this they will not be disappointed like I and other black men were when the white man tried to slap us back into our place.
Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by a black man, tears, handcuffs, and white men who place cuffs on black men.