I am a strong, sophisticated, unapologetic black man – and the color of my skin does not define me. But no matter where I live or what I do, the overt racist portrayal of a black man has escalated and it personally affects me.
I am an unapologetic black man who has finally had enough and here to say it.
I am an unapologetic black man whose name is Charles. Not “Black Charles.”
I am an unapologetic black man who deserves and demands better treatment.
I am an unapologetic black man that is trapped and judged by my skin color.
I am an unapologetic black man hindered by racism and prejudice.
I am an unapologetic black man labelled by my blackness, and then asked to publicly disavow any labels for professional legitimacy.
I am an unapologetic black man that is deeply humiliated and knows that others’ behavior toward me is shameful, disgraceful and increasingly not disguised as racist.
I am an unapologetic black man who sees growing apathy toward racial discrimination today in 2017.
I am an unapologetic black man whose boiling emotions are not even validated.
I am an unapologetic black man who is not free – for every time I walk outside my door, this racism against my skin color permeates everything I do.
I am an unapologetic black man and I do not need the month of February to be reminded that I am black.
I am an unapologetic black man whose daily constant reminders of my race and ethnicity have become more demeaning and destructive. These reminders come in various forms, most of them with an underlying tone… but never one of acceptance and true fairness.
I am an unapologetic black man who as a kid was told, don’t be a bully, do your homework, and be prepared. Education and experience will outweigh how you look. Guess what? No matter how gracious I have been, or how I’ve dedicated my life to service of others, there are times when I am treated without dignity and respect.
As of February 12th, 2017, there were 56 hate crimes reported in New York City up from just 31 incidents over the same time period last year, according to figures released today by the New York Police Department. Not surprisingly, the increase of hatred comes from people of very diverse backgrounds. An underlying and condescending tone that comes from male and female ― all races and nationalities – we live in a world where hate is becoming accepted on social media and in the news.
I am an unapologetic black man that is sick and tired of not being recognized for my individual character, accomplishments and societal contributions.
How can I NOT be a frustrated, incensed black man?
The police shoot first and ask questions later. People dismiss black men when looking at them first – they don’t wait to learn about who we are as people. And, no, this is not an exaggeration or overstatement… this is our reality.
This up-front, in-your-face admission of oppression, has existed for decades, but this flat-out racism and discrimination has escalated. Black people have endured being treated like objects in this country – a country built by many races ― including black people. A country built by everyone, including black people ― the selfless contributors that created our nation.
We provided free labor, have endured, and have never been given credit for that same work. Black parents want to live a prosperous life, despite the lack of safe public schools, unhealthy food options, discrimination in housing and culturally absent neighborhoods. We have pushed through despite these challenges and obstacles. Black people have endured the humiliation of being sought to fight for this country and being denied basic rights once their service to this country was complete.
I am an unapologetic black man – fed up with people not understanding we are still oppressed.
I am an unapologetic black man that has to tell the tale of the white people who rebelled against their British oppressors because they wanted freedom. And still, some white people have not been able to understand or appreciate the anger of black people who are likewise tired of being oppressed. Nobody should be considered or treated sub-human…period.
I am an unapologetic black man who loves being black – and is not angry but highly frustrated.
We must confront, address and tackle overt racism and discrimination. We cannot apologize or look the other way anymore. No apologies needed – we must end divisive behavior, judgement and discrimination based on race and color of skin once and for all.
Charles A. Archer, CEO at The THRIVE Network, Lawyer and Activist