June 23, 20178:00 AM ET- Kevin Powell
“I wanna go home not sing this song
but I’m forced to perform speech napalm”
To be a black man in America is to be under a constant state of enormous pressure, stress and danger, from outside, from within. From outside there is the ruthless reality of racism, jabbing and stabbing at you from every angle, in the mass media culture, at school with textbooks that forever omit you, with those police encounters that put your soul on trial even if a simple traffic stop, from individual meetings with those who view you as dangerous, immoral, aggressive, violent, whether you’ve demonstrated any such behavior or not. And then if you are me or the late Prodigy of the rap duo Mobb Deep, and happen to hail from one of America’s ghetto’s, your end could also easily come at the hands of people who look like you, too. Because not only is the racism mad real, but so is the internalized racism and toxic manhood we’ve digested so well, have taught each other, have gifted from generation to generation like family heirlooms for the boys in the ‘hood.
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