"I Am America’s Nigger"

With the killings of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, police relations have come to a head nationwide. Haroldinho Bell brings a raw voice to what he calls, "the most vulnerable beings on the planet: Black men in America."

Artist Patrick Cambells "New Age of Slavery"

I am America’s criminal. The face you think about when hearing a sound bite of a robbery or murder on the news. The mascot of the war on drugs, gun violence, and ironically the hit TV series Cops. The reason your mom clutches her purse tighter when she walks past me despite the fact that we’re co-workers. The first person in the group you get uncomfortable about when something has been misplaced.

I am America’s token. I am socially molded throughout my life and used to fit one of the political agendas of the powers that be. Palatable mulattos like CNN’s Uncle Tom Lemon or President Barry Obama help the majority feel safe. House Negroes like Larry Elder, Jesse Lee Peterson, and Ron Christie help the majority with their guilt. And socially engineered children like rappers Chief Keef and YG infect the impressionable children within my community and give the majority a reason to treat me like an animal.

I am America’s profit margin. Whether rushing to buy the latest fashion and Air Jordan sneakers, or buying drugs and alcohol to escape my reality, I am a contributing factor to America’s bottom line. Despite owning relatively no businesses in comparison to other ethnicities, I generate trillions of dollars for other communities in my chase to become an equal – something I imagine can only be achieved through conspicuous consumption. And when I die, which is quite often, America will profit from every casket and funeral precession. No matter what I do, America profits from both my life and death. 

I am America’s statistic. I will be reported on during criminology lectures on inner-city homicides, and written about in dissertations on the effects of fatherless households. News anchors will talk about how I’ve been unemployed, disproportionately collecting government benefits, and let’s not forget, how I kill more of the people in my community than any other race so there is no rationale behind discussing officer related murders.

I am America’s prisoner. I account for less than 13 percent of the American population but roughly 40 percent of this country’s prison population; less than 6 percent of San Francisco’s total population, but somehow 56 percent of its inmate population. I will be targeted year after year to feed the free labor profit machine. No one will question it. No one is paying attention. Black people are not humans to the majority, so again, no one is paying attention.

I am America’s nigger. The most vulnerable being on the planet Earth. The scapegoat. As gentrification strategies continue to take effect, and as my population decreases, I will inevitably join the fate of my Native American brethren on the reservation to serve out my existence in exile. Athletic teams will adopt my image for their mascots and apparel. Statues will be erected in memory of my presence. And most importantly, the government will amend the Thanksgiving holiday and write books on how the Pilgrims, the Natives, and the African slaves sat all hand in hand for an unforgettable feast.

For more ongoing coverage on the justice movement going on in San Jose and around the U.S from Ferguson,Oakland to New York check out Protect Your People: Running De-Bug Coverage on the Movement to End Police Violence, Including the Killings of Mike Brown and Erick Garner

About Haroldinho

Haroldinho is a Richmond based filmmaker and writer.

This article is part of the category: Protect Your People: Running De-Bug Coverage on the Movement to End Police Violence, Including the Killings of Mike Brown and Erick Garner 
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