Lace Up Before You Speak Out

Before I post anything on social media, I write out and/or process my words before I post them. This seems to be the antithesis of what most people do. Call it corny, but I'd rather be corny than to sound like a complete fool. My hope is that my words will help educate, enlighten and bring people closer to understanding.

I recently heard someone say that, “you shouldn’t go through life looking at everything in terms of black and white, life is about the difference we can make in the lives of all people.” I agree with this statement wholehearted, but when you are a black man, society doesn’t always agree.


I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about my “blackness” or how I’m going to be treated by others as a result of being black. I don’t build relationships with people of different racial ethnic groups thinking about my race or how they view me as a black man.

"I build relationships based on the quality of a person’s character and the level of their intellect."

My hope is that they will do the same in return. However, there are circumstances that occur on a weekly and sometimes daily basis with me and/or my family that require us to address issues of race and discrimination. Here are a few things that have been said and/or implied towards me and my family based on the color of our skin over the years.

  1. You fit the description…

  2. You speak so well…

  3. I’m not talking about you; it’s those other people…

  4. You got this job because you're black…

  5. My parents said that black boys can’t come to my party, but black girls can…

  6. You fit the description…

  7. You speak so well…

  8. Can you afford to do that…?

  9. I never met a black man like you…

  10. What part of Africa are you from…

  11. You speak so well…

  12. You’re really aggressive…

  13. How did your parents afford to send you to that school…?

  14. Your son’s are really aggressive…

  15. You people are always…

  16. I feel uncomfortable…

  17. You should be lucky…

I'm sure statements like these are heard by many individuals of the black community. This is a form of racism that is indirect, but is carried out covertly in the workplace, at school, in sports, in neighborhoods, at the grocery store, while walking the dog or driving a car. Before you agree or disagree, remember that everyone has a different journey including a recovering alcoholic, a former drug addict, a homeless man or an individual being release from prison. All to often, everyone is guilty of prejudging and/or discriminating against someone because of what they perceive or don't understand. So yes, life is not about black and white, however learn what it is like to walk a mile in someone else shoes. Lace up before you speak out!

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