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Two Americas

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One person said that reality is only what your brain perceives it as. This saying couldn’t be more on the money.

In this country, we are painfully aware that there are two Americas. There are two different ways where we live our lives.

On one hand, a lot of Americans live “the dream” in a happy existence. These Americans still have problems, but nothing like the other Americans face.

On the other hand, the other Americans live the dream through bars before their eyes. I’m not talking about being incarcerated, I’m talking about being free-ish.

Not sure what free-ish means? Here’s several ideas:

1.It’s not being able to walk to your mailbox in your apartment building because of a “clean hall” law that has been passed (NYC).

So if you are a male of color, just stepping out your door will subject you to harassment by the police regarding your motives (taking out trash or getting the mail). I’m sure the other America doesn’t experience this.

2. Being viewed as the Boogieman.

Now I’m sure there are seedy characters from all walks of life–it’s human not based on race. However, a large segment of Americans do not come in daily contact with people of color. So in a way it makes it easier to cast people of color as the enemy, or people up to no good. After all, that’s all you see on TV right? Never a positive story about what we do, always about us killing each other.

3. Which brings me to controlling of images in the media.

I hate to sadly disappoint the other America, but those rap albums that you buy with people who has hardened faces, wearing orange jump suits, exposing their “grill” and looking menacing–that’s not us.

Just like a female pop artist knows that sex sells, rappers are also aware that the people in charge of these record labels “know” that scary black men sell to middle class teens.

Truth is–their story is not our story. Look at who is in charge of these record labels and understand why those images are being tooted out there.

Now think about the impact it has on the Americans who never come into contact with people of color and how they are perceived. It’s not a very pretty picture.

4. Speaking of controlling our images–since when do our children fall into the bucket of “oh well, that’s not news worthy.”

I was reading reviews of the Hunger Games and there was so much animosity because the little girl (who I understand is one of the main characters) was a girl of color (she’s biracial I believe).

Since when is it wrong to have a person of color on the screen that the audience learns to care about? Apparently, it brought up a lot of anger issues for some people who felt tricked for caring for a black child.

Our differences between the two Americas are only skin deep, but between the two Americas, we might as well be from different planets–because that is how it feels at times.

One of my fears is having a son. Not because he may turn out “bad,” far from it. I am afraid to have one because I understand the hardships that he will go through. I understand the stop and frisk policies that exist. I understand that just him walking out the house without ID could send him to jail to have his prints run into the system “just in case.”

However, if I am blessed with a son, I will have to put those fears aside, and let him know that regardless if the world around him perceives him as a threat, or the enemy, that we know the truth. He will have potential. He can and will rise above noise.

{Thumbnail Image Source: rocksrain via Flickr}

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DeniseCamOptimistic MomKita Recent comment authors
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Kita
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Very Good post it’s a shame the way we have to live some people have it easy and others have it so hard. Others are not taught and don’t know how to teach so that we can overcome but I do the best I can because I have a son and I am afraid for him very afraid.

Optimistic Mom
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I have a son and I am concerned about the road ahead as he gets older. I pray that he will never know the world that will judge him for no real reason….but we must prepare him for it. smh….

Cam
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Great post. It’s so frustrating that this is reality. I do fear for my son. We just have to raise him the best way we know how and PRAY. That’s all I have to hold on to.

Denise
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It’s crazy that it’s still this way, but i guess we all have to be realistic and prepare our kids for the real world. It’s a shame that the media is so responsible for all the stereotypes though.

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