I have loved Black Men for as long as I can remember. From my daddy’s chocolate skin, bushy eye brows and low-cut fade to every R&B singer, rapper, athlete, movie star, entrepreneur, painter, president, construction worker, computer engineer, pan-handler – I have loved Black Men to the moon and back. My first crush ever was Raphael from the Ninja Turtles who everyone knows is the black Ninja Turtle. Romantically, platonically, as family, even in times of frustration, disappointment, betrayal and abandonment I have unapologetically, and without condition loved my brothas.
I have barely toyed with the idea of marrying and forging the next in my bloodline with anything other than mahogany. Yet, on the heels of another murdered Black Man, Walter Scott, a father, a brother, a son, at the hands of those sworn to “serve and protect,” Then this week Freddie Grey was laid to rest. For perspective: 5’8″ 145lb Freddie Grey died from injuries after his spine was severed 80% of the way (at his neck). His injuries were sustained after being cuffed at the hands and feet and driven around in the back of a police van for 30 minutes (a common practice of Baltimore PD). He was unrestrained (exp: seat belt). The streets of Baltimore are riddled with bumps and potholes. He was tossed about like a rag doll in the back of the van. He had no ability to stabilize himself (because of the hand and leg restraints). His spine was snapped like a dried twig. He was 25.
People will argue that he was a career criminal, a thug, that he shouldn’t have run from the police, that it was his fault he died. When the police tell you to do something you listen. None of the crimes he’d ever been charged with or convicted of are punishable by the death penalty. The Baltimore Police Department has a long history of corruption and the mismanagement of arrests. So much so that the city has doled out $5.7 million in settlements in the last 3 years.
Freddie Grey is in fact the quintessential story of a person raised in Baltimore a city that has been cast aside for decades. A city flooded with drugs and guns and then left to wallow and die. And burn.
And now because of gross negligence on the part of the police officers Freddie died of those injuries sustained while in police custody. If that is not, by definition, torture then I don’t know what is.
And all people want to talk about is a burning CVS.
I can’t decide if me choosing to have Black babies one day is a radical act of Black Love or inevitable infanticide.
My commitment to and preference for Black Love is radical. My commitment to and preference for Black Love is challenging. My commitment to and preference for Black Love has to this point not resulted in a husband or family but has in no way diminished my resolve. My commitment to and preference for Black Love is at once the most heartbreaking and empowering experience.
“I can’t decide if me choosing to have Black babies one day is a radical act of Black Love or inevitable infanticide.”
I want to have black sons to carry on the torch of black sons lost before them. I want to have black daughters to hold those black sons accountable to our mutually assured survival and success. I want my black daughters to feel supported by, loved by, protected by and important to their black brothers.
I make passionate, vulnerable, soul shifting love to Black Men. I bite the lips, necks, ribs and shoulders of Black Men. I leave scratch marks, trails of sweat and whisper tipped kisses along the spines of Black Men. The only pain I want Black Men to feel is the shock of sun hitting their eyelids as they lick my taste from their lips in the morning.
I don’t want them to have to feel this anymore.
As much as this crisis is a national one it is as much a very personal one. It is one that makes me fear for every Black Man and indeed Black Boy I see. It makes me hug my lover tighter before he walks out the door for fear that it might be the last time I see him. It is just that real. It’s just that heartbreaking. It’s just that scary.
Fuck this racist, murderous country and everyone who through action, apathy or silence sanctions the genocide of Black Men.
Featured image: cheriejoyful Flickr user via Creative Commons