DO NOT GIVE THEM AN EXCUSE TO KILL YOU.


Once more our country is focused on the aftermath of the death of a young black man. The frequency with which this scenario occurs is alarming, disgraceful and is not likely to change in my life time. I am a 40-year-old physician without a criminal record. I have a brother who is a Veterinarian and another an Airline pilot. Neither has a criminal record, but we all have experienced the brutality of American racism. We do not often talk about it. We live it and pray that our children will have a better experience. We want them to get a good education and not be killed by the police. That is our American dream.

The truth of what happened in Ferguson is irreverent to us because we live the brutally of knowing that at any moment we could be killed for no reason. As black Americans we have come a far way, but the fundamental problem for us has changed very little. We are not seen as humans, we are seen as murderers waiting for an opportunity. We are determined to survive so we try standing up for ourselves. However, standing up for yourself as a black man is seen as threatening. Success for us is about surviving the constant attempt to institutional us. If that can be avoided material success is possible, but only if you are not convinced to give up before you have had a chance to try. Material success is about picking your battles.

As a Physician I see the contempt patients show towards me at times, I swallow and still provide them the best care possible. I love taking care of patients and that care is not about anything but my pride in doing the best job I can. Because I provide you with care supported by the best evidence I am comfortable. In spite of providing excellent care I am challenged but nurses and patients. I often wonder what I am doing wrong, but it does not matter. I am of the wrong completion, so my care is subject to review. I need to justify my decisions with evidence, while others provide poor care and are not challenged. This is my life as a black physician.

I am strong enough because I was brought up in a culture that expected me to succeed. My early years in Jamaica has given me a belief in myself that is difficult to shake. It has been shaken, but I have recovered. Unfortunately my girls are growing up in a society that does not expect them to succeed. I will push them hard because their mistakes, no matter how insignificant, will be judged and punished harshly. I need to build in them confidence that is based on competence because our country will not give them the chances they deserve. I will teach them about how not to get killed.

The sad story is that my girls and my nieces and nephews will be at risk from violence from all sides. There is more violence in black communities both from cops and criminals alike. There is nowhere to hide, there is only learning how to manage the risk. Our treatment as black Americans is dependent on the complexion of our company. While out with my brothers and nephews we are treated like predators and undesirables. The excuses for treating us like monsters are varied but none are credible. In spite of the despicable treatment I often experience, I will still treat you well. I will still give you the best health care, although I will not be given the same treatment.

Rioting will not help nor will talking. Sorry Martin, I no longer have a dream, just a reality, ” Do Not Give Them an Excuse To Kill You”.

Be safe America.

I WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED


It has always been dangerous to be a black man in America and it continues to be. One day it will change but I am not likely to see that day. The most recent expressions of the disregard for my life as been expressed. This was a predictable outcome. Some will be perplexed and angry but for my survival I cannot be. The stress of trying to survive is enough to make me sick but I will continue to be respectful of those who are respectful of me. I will only indulge in practices that will give my family a chance to survive the maze we live in as people of African heritage.

I will not waste my time getting offended by show trials, because I know enough history. Our experience has not changed from sixty years ago, except that there is pretense that it has. The system now provides us with a trial, but will never provide us with a conviction. As a black man I know I am expendable, I know no matter what I think of myself I will always be viewed as less than. My ideas will be disregard, not because they are without merit, but because I am a black man.

In spite of the attempts to steal my life and my ability to progress, I will continue to strive for that 40 acres. I will not be intimidated nor will I allow my daughters or my nephews to be. No one needs to tell me that I am as good. I know I am better that most. I know I can compete. I know that my family will continue to compete and win. I know this because it is what my grandparents made me believe. I know because it is how my parents lived. I know I am equal because Darwin is correct. We have survived in spite of the attempts to eradicate us, because the fit will survive.

The opportunities provided by the American system are numerous and we must take advantage of them. Academic, professional or financial successes are no guarantee of survival or respect, but these are the routes to continued survival. I will always be distrusted by the majority, but I will not allow the small-minded and backward to derail my goals. I will not get angry and fulfill their ideas of me. I will channel my anger, because in the long view of history we have won.