It is Christmas 2013. Families worldwide gather with their friends, families and loved ones to celebrate life, giving, love and caring. All of that is the best of what human nature has to offer. I, myself, traveled over 10 hours to be with my family gathering at our home in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Before I go on, I just want to note that this is Virginia, VIRGINIA! At one point of this nation’s history, Virginia was home to the Capitol of the Confederate States of America, which sought to break away from the United States of America. Before and since that time, Virginia has had it’s own way of doing this, mirroring much of what the southern United States of America did. Harsh and unequal segregation laws, brutal and wretched degradation of persons of color and systematic and institutional racism to legally and emphatically enhance the status of one race at the expense of another. Virginia was the state of Massive Resistance and the Byrd Machine. For over 100 years Virginia was set on being one with the South. However, the will of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the true Virginians living within would show despite such negativity. Virginia, which despite it’s southern roots and way of life was deeply connected to the Colonial spirit that drives the goodness of America. This is most exemplified by both ends of the state with Northern Virginia being the doorstep of out nation’s Capitol and Southeastern Virginia, Hampton Roads being home to a part of our nation’s military, the U.S. Navy. Virginia would further distinguish itself from it’s southern brethren by electing the first Black Governor of a state in the nation’s history. Through it all, electorally, Virginia was still pretty tied to the Solid South. Yes progressives had a few victories, a Doug Wilder, a Chuck Robb a Don Beyer. But eternally and broadly, Virginia was still very much a southern state. It was only until recently that a string of Democrats would be able to have success. In 2001, Mark Warner would win the office of governor and would be succeeded by his Lieutenant Governor, Tim Kaine. Both would eventually finish their terms with enough of an argument to be elected to both senate offices in 2008 and 2012 respectively. In 2008, Virginia would also be able elected a majority Democratic Congressional Delegation as well. Lastly and most notably, for the first time since the south went “solid”, ALL statewide elected offices would be won and held by Democratic candidates with the elections of Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam and Mark Herring in 2013. Now, in a nutshell, that is Virginia political history.
NOW… Back to me. I come home to be with my family on Christmas Eve. I have uncles and aunts all gather at my parents house with friends and more extended families enjoying each other, our bonds and our love. Now, as typical as with many other families celebrating Christmas a few of us would leave just before midnight to attend church services. I stayed home to finish wrapping gifts. Later that night, my uncle returns and gives me something he found in my parent’s driveway in Virginia Beach Virginia in the United States in 2013. This was what we found:
After discovering that this was left for my parents to see, upon waking up in the morning, I was curious to know if any of our neighbors were targeted. To my dismay, I would find this same flyer on every driveway of my parent’s entire street as well as the mile long street leading into their neighborhood. Disappointed and embarrassed, I tried to go to bed hoping that people would be able to still be able to have a good Christmas without having this forced upon them. I laid down, closed my eyes and tried to sleep, but my mind would not allow me. It was now very early in the morning, but I decided to get out of bed, put my pants back on and find every piece of this filth I could find and take it away. I could not allow another human being, especially a KID to wake up in the morning, walk outside and find this foolery to ruin Christmas Morning. Sadly, I did not succeed, there were some who still found it before I could take it. I wasn’t looking for a medal. I wasn’t looking for recognition. I was, however, looking to do the right thing. Not to get tied down in the history of the Ku Klux Klan, but given who they are and what they are about, I refused to let them win anything. Especially that. So I made like Santa Claus, but in reverse. I would rather no one know they exist.
The problem is they do. And despite my actions, despite my intentions to rid the world of such evil, it is still there. I knew what I was doing would not solve everything, but I thought if I could give a little unknown Christmas present to unsuspecting families, then I would. But that’s the way of the world. And I know that. I’ve fully realize that. I was not surprised that this happened, but slightly surprised it was in Virginia Beach.
I know this is the reality of the world. I don’t hide from it. But I realize that many others would rather just pretend it doesn’t exist. They would rather pretend that someone DID NOT go to their houses in the morning and preserve their perceptions of human nature that isn’t real. There is hate in the world. There is evil. We NEED to acknowledge it. But a kid on Christmas morning? Now, I realize I can talk about issues like race, racism, the underclass, inequality, social justice and the true nature of humanity as vividly and as easy as I talk about anything else. But on average, so many others are afraid to even acknowledge their existence, when they do come up, merely talking about these issue are taboo. However, the more we treat them as taboo, the less we learn from each other. If we are unwilling to learn about what this world is truly about, then we are not only doing ourselves a disservice, but we’re ultimately no better than the negativity we attempt to hide from. The only way we get to win, is to engage in dialogue and continue to learn from each other, the good and the bad. Unfortunately YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD BLACK MAN won’t be around to save every day.