Four Hundred Years

Ahmed Gboweay, Writer

400+ years. It took us 400+ years to finally break free from the white man and we technically aren’t even free. We may have rights stating that we are citizens of the “land of liberty” that provides said liberty and justice. Except there is no “liberty;” there is only injustice in our Black lives. 

A Black boy couldn’t play in the park without being shot down. 

A young Black man couldn’t buy Skittles from the corner store and walk back home without getting shot.

Young men are scared to reach for their license and registration because of the fear of getting shot. 

All of them were killed because the white man was terrified. When I look at my fellow brother, all I see is a human being trying to make it in the world. What does the white man see? He sees a man that he’s had full control over for 246 years. He sees a man that he oppressed for 400+ years, but that man is now free and roaming. 

Truth is, white man, that Black man isn’t free. He’s not free because you and others like you make sure that wherever said Black man walked, he wasn’t safe. I guess he doesn’t live in great ‘ol America, home of the free and brave. 

Black men and women can’t walk outside their houses with their children without warning them of the cruel world they live in. All they want is for their children’s innocence to be kept safe, but that can never happen. They have to tell their children about the real world because that world will kill them for being the color that they are, if they aren’t mindful. 

Do you really enjoy this, white man? 

Does this act of oppression help you sleep at night? 

Does it ease your mind to know that you’re still in control after every fight, every protest, and every riot? 

What’s your gain white man? 

Is there a hierarchy that I’m not aware of, a food chain I’ve failed to see that states that you are always going to be the predator and I am always going to be the prey because I have what you lack? Melanin? 

Why is it that you, your son, and your son’s son appropriate our culture: music, food, fashion, language, yet hate our guts? 

Help me understand, white man. Help me see myself through your eyes. I’m just a man who happens to have a darker complexion. I’m just a man who’s trying to survive. I’m a human being, just like you. But somehow, when you look at me, you see a different picture. 

What do you see, white man? What is it that you see that others can’t?