Before I leave my house every morning, I suit up.
I suit up in armor that has been forged from years of life experiences as a black man, in and out of the US, bearing the wear and tear of uncertainty, wariness, paranoia, deep disappointment, fierce pride, joy, grit, rigor, battle scars, and the cool demeanor that comes with the confidence that was born and also bred in me.
I have used that armor to deflect the “you can be a bit intimidating” BS at the corporate altar. That armor has shielded me from absorbing the “we love you, but you’re not quite the right fit for our culture” crap during the dating dance for gigs and roles. That armor has come in quite handy as a deep reserve of “whoo-sah” and goodwill that is tapped to counter that look of surprise when it is discovered I have three hardcore degrees. That armor gives me super-hero strength as I hustle to be the best father and husband to the most amazing women God has blessed me with.
However. That armor can’t stop a bullet.
And that has me, and every single black man and woman out there today on edge. Scared. Angry. In mourning. Hurt. Confused. Worried. Distraught. Resolute. Empowered. Fired up. You watch those videos of Walter, Philando, Alton, Tamir and others getting hit, and folks…stuff is real. This stuff is real, and there is a palpable, emotional and visceral reaction from the community that cannot be brushed aside, or ignored into silence, or worse…wished into blissful oblivion.
Silence is not a freaking option.
I mourn those five police officers that lost their lives in Dallas. Those innocent and brave men paid a dear price that was not theirs or any of their brethren to pay. And the sad part is that…they had on their armor too.
Still did not stop the bullets.