During random conversations with friends and associates that are not of minority status, I sometimes express how challenging life can be as a black man. Not because I’m unhappy with the color of my skin, but that a certain few within society make it their business to curve my existence as a person of color. I’m sure with a few of those friends, I’m just another black man running off at the mouth – complaining about oppression and equality. Though I’m not complaining, I definitely encourage them to understand my position and those who dare to have a conversation about colorism in the United States. Black is beautiful and it’s unfortunate that 100% of society doesn’t see it as a necessary piece in the world’s color garden.

Yes, I’m one of the believers in, all lives matter. I know…. You’re probably telling yourself, he must be one of those confused negros. Quite the contrary. You see, I’ve read many books on history and one of the books that stood out to me the most was John Chasteen’s Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America. I thought it was a beautiful read and it also opened my mind to a lot of societal misunderstandings, namely commonsense. In the book, he covers the history of Latin America from 1492 to the present – touching on array of issues, one being segregation. Not just amongst black Africans, but of the people in what is now modern day Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Now, last I checked those people weren’t just black, but of all colors, shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. Not only have many of us suffered from similar injustices since the sunrise of time, but much of the sociological setbacks that go on today are damn near identical to what many faced in the past. Give or take a dictator, king, or whatever…

Aside from my obsession with history, I’ve also taken part in peaceful protest that were orchestrated to bring awareness to the senseless killings of black Americans. I’ve lost loved ones and friends to unnecessary violence, and had my own share of personal situations that I don’t care to remember. Do black lives matter? Absolutely. Is it rational to think that one life and/or color holds more weight than the next? Absolutely not. I believe all lives matter. We say we need to get to the root of systemic racism, but is it really that hard to understand where the problem lies? Like most situations, it starts from the top and as long as we allow leadership within political institutions and corporate settings to dictate and divide, then how will the initial removal of irrational behavior begin? The United States needs an uprising dammit!

Despite history and what it teaches, am I blind to the fact that black people currently suffer more than any other ethnicity? Absolutely not. I think it is 100% important to address colorism and the inadequate treatment of minorities. However, violence and condescending rhetoric is not the solution. I also believe that we function better in a state of empathy, compassion, and love then we do in a state of separation. Equality does not require an algorithm and neither does commonsense. I understand the black voice, I live it every day. But because of my love for equality, I want to believe that we can do better as a people and not make life out to be about who’s made it in Walmart’s back to school Crayola section.

If we are to understand history and learn from our mistakes, we must coexist as rational players in the game of life. Understanding color is important, but it should NEVER be the objective. No more black, white, brown, or whatever dumb categorizations the United States government cares to classify as a human being. No more we are only Americans when there’s a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or hate crime. We are Americans ALWAYS!

Qwest Lives