For those of you who know me, you know the guy on the left. That picture encapsulates my personality. Joy. Happiness. Energy. I love laughing, and I love making people laugh. To those of you who know me, I am not a threat.
But, not everyone knows me.
Let's talk about the picture on the right, a clear contrast to the previously mentioned image. Angry. Dangerous. Thug. Now the classic argument I here is, "Well if you don't look so menacing, you won't attract trouble!" Well, I'm 6'8" 260 pounds. I'm not sure I can change that. The face I am making is my resting face. The sun forces me to squint a bit, but this is how I look as I walk down the street. I relaxed my muscles as best I could before I took the photo to ensure I did not add any extra "menacing" or "thug" imagery to it. It does not match my personality. This is just my outside appearance.
And for some, that's all they'll see before making harmful conclusions.
I took my shirt off to accentuate one point: the color of my skin. Sure there are other people that are menacing who are non-black, but when I look at entertainment, when I listen to society, I am constantly told that I, an African-American male, have to be something OTHER than myself to stay safe or to have others feel safe. I have to dress well, speak well (don't get me started on that) and work twice as hard to show I am "one of the good ones."
What about that picture on the right screams I am not?
You may not think like what I have described above, but I'm sure you know someone who does. And trust me when I say I KNOW how much having that conversation sucks. Let me ask you this, though: Is potential discomfort worth someone's life? Is your personal discomfort worth my life?
I hope to have a son one day. If he looks like I do, will he be feared due to his appearance? Will his life be in danger because he may not look like "one of the good ones"?
My name is Adam Constantine. I am a Christian, son, brother, friend, college graduate, former professional athlete, higher education professional and unique content creator.
But if you pass me on the street, does that even matter?
To some, I'm an angry black man looking for handouts and waiting to cause trouble.
And that hurts my soul.
You may find the original facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10100803899226483&set=a.588810871313.2137052.18207191&type=3&theater¬if_t=like¬if_id=1467929158662419