Black Men Bumping Shoulders

As i talk about my life with HIV I have to remind many that I don’t have the luxury of simply focusing on my positive status. When I walk out the door people don’t see someone who has HIV. They see a black person and therefore approach me in the way they would someone black.

For some it’s no issue, some look over their shoulder, others may cross the street. It’s a reality living in a society built on the foundation of race. I recently had an episode where I accidentally bumped into a brotha. It was a clear accident but the look he gave me was of murder and disgust. No it was hate. It opened up something that has always bothered me, the black on black crime that destroy neighborhoods and families. What causes us to exhibit so much hate against each other, actually I know the answer which goes all the way back to slavery days but I’m also reminded of a quote Dr. Benjamin Mays stated,
I believed to this day that Negroes in my country fought among themselves because they were taking out on other Negroes what they really wanted but feared to take out on whites. It was difficult, virtually impossible to combine manhood and blackness under one skin in the days of my youth. To exercise manhood, as white men displayed it, was to invite disaster.

This quote resonated with me as I feel as black men we feel we always have to fight for our manhood and to show it is dangerous. We see ourselves in the media as monsters or leading the newscast as either a victim or a perpetrator and we start to believe that’s who we are. It was never this way. We used to be united. The following is a poem I wrote that that describes this scenario.

When did we move…away
When did we move when we stood next to each other dancing to the sounds of our culture, standing tall on the earth of out heritage, my brothers, together in unison
When did we move…away
When they captured us and put us together like livestock, no my fault, the livestock traveled better than us. As we were layered on top of each other, sharing sweat, pain and tears. Sharing our fears of what’s to come and what was being left behind. Holding each other, shedding tears in each other arms, holding on to each other even the spirit had left the body, my brotha was free.
When did we move away…
When we stood in line, our manhood sold off to the highest bidder. My shoulder pressed against yours, my hands holding yours, saying be strong brotha, no matter what, be strong. I let you cry, you let me cry. We cried together as stolen men standing on stolen land.
When did we move away….
When we stitched our strength together and told them no more. when they arrived in covered sheets trailing blood stained ropes of our brotha’s behind them. when the air of unjust laws was pumped in our chest and the value of our worth was less than the dirt that covered our bare feet. Yet we were still rich as you called on me and I called on you.
When did we move away…
When we walked together looking for the promised land. The jagged teeth of dogs tearing into our flesh, the sting of the water feeling like thrown needles on our back, our faces, our lives. I never left your side because we knew we would overcome and that no matter what we endured, we would not be undone.
When did we move….away
When we stood together, our fists pumped in the air. We took care of ours and didn’t expect anything from anyone whose afro didn’t fit the ovalness of the moon
Say it loud
I’m black and I’m proud
Say it loud…my brotha
when did we move….away
When we endured America’s history as one.
When did we move..away
Was it when the snow started to fall on our neighborhoods, crystallizing into lost dreams to only disappear into our veins. Was it when we saw the door was left open and the fathers of fathers started to walk through them, walking away from the cries of a young mind. Was it Reganomics? Don’t ask, don’t tell? Or the weapons of mass destruction that made us come undone?
When did we move….away
From each other brotha
My
Nigger
Or does it really make a difference that it ends in an ‘a’
The spirit of my ancestors tell me it still sounds the same as his last breath escaped from him into the gathered crowd that found sport in his passing
Yet now we use it as our glue of endearment, attempting to claim ownership of it, when we don’t even try to own our own dreams.
When did we move…away
Are you talking to me nigga? Who you looking at? You got something to say? You got beef? You stupid nigga. I should smoke your ass.
And when will we come back?
By Aundaray Guess

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About Aundaray

Aundaray is currently receiving his Masters in Public Relation and Communications at New York University. He has blogged for Huffington Post and various magazines. His interest is in discovering the effects of social media within business and cultures and the impact it has.
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