By Senator Lena C. Taylor
Whether Abroad or At Home, Being Black Is A Problem
Shortly after the murder of George Floyd, another video emerged that sent chills through the spines of Black folks. The viral depiction of a young Black boy, Keedron Bryant, belting out the song’s title lyrics “I Just Want To Live” was absolutely haunting. Having a son of my own, I was absolutely overtaken with grief. I replayed the video over and over. Each word stung like salt on an open wound.
I just wanna live
God protect me
I’m a young Black man
Doing all that I can (Can)
Oh, but when I look around
And I see what’s being done
To my kind (Kind)
Every day (Day)
I’m being hunted as prey
My people don’t want no trouble
This week, the song’s content seemed to have been ripped right from the headlines: “Tucker Carlson Calls for Ketanji Brown Jackson’s LSAT Scores,” “New Evidence of Discrimination Against Black Coaches In the NFL,” and “Black People in Ukraine Report Racism While Trying to Leave.”
Black people, regardless of education, economic status, location or religion, will tell you the same thing: for no other reason than the color of our skin, we can be denied opportunities, access and equal protection under the law. I was reminded of that fact in the third verse of the song, which includes “It’s an unequal sequel, No matter where I be, There’s no place safe for me”.
Even as activists prepare to acknowledge the 56th anniversary of the historic Selma, Alabama bridge crossing, most commonly known as “Bloody Sunday,” many of the fights of 1965 remain today. Back then it was voting rights, today it is voting rights. Back then it was “I AM A MAN,” today it is “Black Lives Matter.” Back then it was separate but equal, today it is separate and unequal.
The same safety concerns that plagued Emmet Till, in 1955, found Ahmaud Arbery in 2020. The same racism, that kept Blacks from crossing the Danziger Bridge after Hurricane Katrina has kept some Blacks from crossing the borders of countries that neighbor Ukraine borders. As Black people around the world have learned, the color of our skin can always be a problem. However, the problem is not ours.
We Just Want To Live