Despite my story, my character, all they saw was this scary black guy.
I always knew that I would be that guy, the good guy that talked to my first girlfriend’s father and I would be the guy that he would approve of. That was something that my dad drilled inside of me and I always knew that I was that guy.
I met this girl that I was crazy about. She was from Honduras. She was adopted into a white family. The problem was her father, despite my upbringing, despite my involvement with the church, despite my heart, he didn’t like me because I was black. He’s threatened to take her back to Honduras. He’s yelled at her. He went to her school and ripped down pictures from her locker of me. Even though I knew these things, I still wanted to propose to her. I said, “I’m still going to have integrity. I’m still going to respect this man.” I went to him, I asked for his blessing for her hand.
The crazy thing about Jesus is that he knows the struggle that a white person in this time has and of a black person would have. What I mean by that is He, Jesus, laid down his privilege of being God to come to humanity. So he knows what it’s like to put aside privilege for somebody else. He also became a Jew under the Roman Empire. So He knew what it was like to be oppressed. To know that my Savior knows my struggle loves me and loves the ones that hate me has connected me to a love that surpasses any wall.
I was walking down the street and there was a white woman that was with me at this stop. She looked to her side. You could tell she was kind of nervous and she walked a little faster than I started walking. I knew I get that a lot. I’m a black young guy with dreds. I get that a lot but I found myself, I looked at my reflection to check how scary I looked. When I noticed that is what I was doing it broke something inside of me.
Despite my story, despite my character, all they saw was this scary black guy. I have a lot of friends and a lot of family members that affirm me, especially when I doubt my character, that I’m not who people think I am. I’m not other people’s opinions. That gives me strength.
The world we are living in now is tough. The last thing that my father-in-law told me wife was, “When you all file for divorce I will pay for it.” That’s how much he despised me. He doesn’t know me.
I write music. My grandfather is Sam Gooden. He was in the Impressions with Curtis Mayfield. They did a lot of hits. They did “People Get Ready”. They did the song “Amen”. They did the song “ We’re a winner, never let anybody say”, that was a song Martin Luther King marched to.
We have two little boys and that side of her family has never met them.
It’s not enough to just acknowledge these situations and tolerate them or acknowledge these situations and say “That’s wrong. That’s not how that should be.” To be anti-racist, to go against those things I feel should be the goal. It does affect me.
I’m running from the thoughts of my sons growing up, running with me for their life cause of the color of their skin. No, I’m not gonna run from this. I owe it to my fam, to the world, and God. I speak out for those who died from this.