Fade to Black

Never forget.

When most people see a spider in their house, more often than not, their first reaction is, "Oh shit? Where's my slipper!" or something along those lines. Oddly enough, though, "house" spiders do not aim to harm us (humans), they're simply just trying to get from point A to point B in their ordinary, daily lives as insects. They're just trying to do what spiders do--eat bugs, give birth to smaller baby spiders and, of course, avoid becoming a tiny gush stain on the mean end of a size 10.5 slipper).

Now I've been known to "neutralize" a spider or two in my day, mainly because I was trained to do that by family members and expected to do that at the passionate request of former girlfriends. One of the most popular fictional characters in American history is based on the animality of a spider. In 1962, Marvel Comics introduced the Spider-Man character to a vast readership. 55 years, millions of comic books, numerous animated series, and three film franchises later, Spider-Man is still immensely popular and beloved by countless fans worldwide.

But yet, the character was based on the abilities and characteristics of a spider. The very same insect most of us--save for the animal rights advocacy bunch amongst us--have assaulted with household items, flushed down toilets or sinks, or tortured with the use of the sunlight and a microscope. Why is our knee-jerk reaction to spiders so extreme that we resolve to neutralize them at first thought, but then turn around and make Spider-Man the third most lucrative fictional character in the world?

Where does this behavior come from?

Could it simply be the "standard operating procedure" we learned from our parents, grandparents, and siblings growing up? Or perhaps, we dated one too many people with a fear of spiders and regularly required us to neutralize "the enemy" whenever it reared its insectoid head? The reason I ask is that this automatic, hyperviolent behavior we have towards spiders is no different than the one mankind regularly, and subconsciously, entreats black people with.

Most of the world, if not all, treat black people, as a whole, like a wild and deadly beast that must be neutralized. What is worse is that black people even do this to other blacks. Thanks to the anti-black propaganda the racist U.S. power structure force-fed multiple generations of Americans, the humanity of black man, woman, and child has dwindled in the eyes of non-blacks, to the sum of zero.

Why is that I wonder? Is it due to the fact that society would have us believe that an acceptable black person who doesn't wear hoodies or have any pride of their blackness?

If President Obama had cornrows, wore hoodies and Air Forces, and spoke in a manner that wasn't considered "presidential," but still accomplished more for Americans (of every race) legislatively than any of his predecessors ever had...then cornrows and hoodies wouldn't be synonymous with "thug" or "target practice"...

They would be synonymous with presidential. America and the world demands that when you want to be taken seriously, one must look and speak "professionally." For many black people, this is a vast undertaking, because we can't hide our skin color, but we can hide our true way of speech (if smart enough) and our style of dress (if fortunate enough).

However, no person should have to mask their true self in order to be viewed as a productive asset to society. Yet, black people always have to scale this intentionally, the slippery slope of social acceptance.

Deweaponizing ourselves so a cop, a prosecutor, a judge, and a jury doesn't deem as a threat is both unnecessary. We are not spiders in need of extermination. We are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, nieces, nephews, husbands, wives, lovers, friends, soldiers, artists, athletes, scientists, writers, inventors, fighters, dreamers, and leaders; just like the rest of you.

These words will go unread, unnoticed, ignored, and forgotten, I'm sure. But in case they don't, in case these words do find you somehow, know this: Every carrier of life on this planet has a purpose, including spiders, but what good is a purpose if one is too busy trying to appease a society--a world--of our humanity?

Black people don't need to change. But the world does. Because there will come a time when enough black people will say exactly that, "Enough.".

Dre Joseph
Dre Joseph
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Dre Joseph

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