How Little Things Got Us Here
“Everyday I leave my house there’s a realization that today could be the day some local cop takes their insecurities and lack of training out on me. Making me the honoree of America’s next big protests and riots.”
BY SULLIVAN LEWIS
You want to know the most ridiculous thing about being black in America? It’s the irony that our ancestors built the very institutions that have kneeled on the necks of black men centuries later—Wall Street, the Capital, and of course the ever so appropriately named modern day Jim Crow, I mean, Trump headquarters, the “White House.” I’ll allow you a moment to unpack that.
My name is Sullivan Lewis; I am a 39 year old black, gay, cis-gendered, male in America and my emotions are a fucking wreck. I’m pissed at society for continuing to fail us. After knowing and acknowledging that much of this country and its wealth was built by black men, women, and children FOR FREE. Yet our lives are still perceived as only being worth three-fifths a person. Just as the census once valued a slave as 60 percent or “three-fifths” of the value of a free or white person. That kind of makes us the Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr of Americans. You know, the other two members of U2 no one bothers to mention or remember…including Bono and The Edge. I joke but it’s a shitty feeling. Imagine what that does to our self worth over time.
“It’s constantly lip-syncing for your life but you’re never safe and you can never join the other girls.”
For decades racists have been defined by certain perimeters—older, southern, white republicans. But we’re learning now they’re young democrats in New York, which leads me to why also I’m sad.
I’m sad that we have a racist, sexist, homophobic president that encourages and in some cases capitalizes off the degradation of the lives of non-white Americans. And while he and his administration work diligently to erode the institutions of free press, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, environmental protections, voter rights and democracy as a whole, the economy continued to thrive. What the fuck is that all about? It’s like white Americans fundamentally believing they’re only capable of succeeding by holding others down.
Finally, I’m scared. Everyday I leave my house there’s a realization that today could be the day some local cop takes their insecurities and lack of training out on me. Making me the honoree of America’s next big protests and riots. I’m scared that our blackness has been so demonized that white women have been weaponizing and continue to weaponize it against us.
The most notable example being the white women that lied on 14 year old Emmitt Till resulting in his murder. If you don’t know that story, look it up. But over 50 years later we have Amy Cooper’s evil ass. Remember she’s the Democratic racist “ally” that tried to get a black, openly gay, Ivy-league educated, bird-watcher, the least threatening man ever, arrested or possible killed. This man is damn unicorn. A national treasure. We must protect him! Because he is me and I am him.
What we are seeing is a combination of little things, little injustices, little policies, little institutions, little organizations—that have kneeled on the necks of black people—and black people are tired.
We’re tired. Imaging trying to juggle the complexities of everyday life, while carrying the weight of your entire culture on your back, and knowing that everything from institutions to media, to medial care to education—all disproportionately affect black communities—now including the novel COVID-19. It’s constantly lip-syncing for your life but you’re never safe and you can never join the other girls.
This is not a black issue and black people alone will not be able to solve the problem of racism. This is a conversation between white Americans and any white American who calls himself an ally must realize this. You are the person they know, love, and trust. You are the person that could potentially initiate their change of heart. It’s important you do it now because while many white American may not be aware of all the intricacy of systemic racism, let me explain where we are at right now: The Tipping Point.