The best part about being an editor is giving voice to many. Derek Minor has always spoken his truth. He was formerly known as Pro, an artist signed to Reach Records. Derek wrote the below piece for me. It’s long but, well worth your time. Even better when you are done I want you to share this with everyone you know. Let’s talk about it. Don’t let it be words on a page.- Oretha Winston- Lead Editor
This blog is going to be uncomfortable. I will try with all my being to consider the feelings of everyone who reads it but I’m totally confident that what I’m about say will be heavy. For my Caucasian brothers and sisters, my desire is not to shame or indict you. I love you! On the contrary, I desire to fight alongside you and every other race to stamp out racial injustice for all. The purpose of this blog is to bring you into my world and hopefully give clarity to the happenings in the heart of many African Americans today. I also desire to see that every race be united in true love and open hearts with one another. Quite simply, I want us all to be healed.
Ferguson, Missouri is a war zone. I’ve never seen anything remotely close to this on American soil in my lifetime. After the death of Michael Brown, it seems that the pressure cooker of racial tension has exploded in America… again. My prayers go out to Capt. Ron Johnson and the other agencies involved. You are in a conundrum. I have no clue how to protect citizens that want to peacefully protest while at the same time neutralize despicable opportunist who only desire to create chaos.
The racial tension I’m speaking of is more elusive and complex. It’s obvious, yet so hard to pin down. It’s the feeling in the heart of the African American that says, “Police will never protect me and the media will always misrepresent me. White people will never understand.” It’s the feeling in the heart of the Caucasian that says, “Blacks will always assume my motives are racist. They will never understand.” This tension is like carbon monoxide poison. It’s nearly undetectable until it’s too late. I think the biggest misstep is to assume that those feelings aren’t valid. To ignore them would be deadly, similar to ignoring the presence of carbon monoxide in your home. I know for me, these feelings have deep roots and very real situations attached to them.
Let me give you some context. My goal in sharing these personal stories is not incite negativity towards any people group, but to give you an honest picture of my life as it applies to racial tension.
My first experience of racism was when I was 7. I was staying with my dad for the summer in a high rise apartment complex. For some reason, I was wandering around the complex exploring by myself. My adventure of traveling to every floor in the elevator was coming to a close. I pressed the button to my dad’s floor and waited. When the door opened I saw an older Caucasian lady with a cool grey afro. I guess I wasn’t getting off the elevator fast enough and she looked at me and said, “Get out of my way you little nigger.” I had no clue what the word nigger meant but the way she said it hurt me deep.
I wish I could say that was the only time I heard that word in that context but unfortunately it wasn’t. Growing up in a small town in the south, it would seem that me and that word would get very closely acquainted. One of the most trying times was at school. On my first day of fourth grade, I was riding the school bus home. There was the group of cool kids in the back of the bus. I wasn’t allowed back there. I didn’t fit in. I heard murmuring and laughing. I knew it was about me… Well, I didn’t “know” but I knew. As I departed the bus and it drove off, I heard someone whistle and then yell, “Hey, you grease monkey!” As I looked up, this kid spit the biggest loogie on my face I had ever seen. I can still see it slowly dripping down my glasses. As I cleaned my glasses and walked down my driveway, fear and sadness gripped my body. I was all alone and I’d be here until I graduated 12th grade.
All wasn’t bad at that school. I met some of the kindest people there. It was there that I learned 2 key things.
- Not every white person is racist. I had some white people go to bat for me on several occasions and treat me just like their family.
- The weight of being a minority is heavy. Simply because culturally you are outnumbered. To be accepted, you will have to either assimilate to the dominate culture or be alone. Dominate cultures won’t willingly make things uncomfortable for themselves to appease the minority. Some of its intentional and some if it is out of pure obliviousness. This doesn’t just apply to race but anything. If the guys are hanging out and my sister wanted to come along, I could guarantee we weren’t going to see the newest love story at the movies. There would be superheroes, action, and tons of explosions.
My last story happened during the recording of Minorville. I had just had my first son and I needed a quiet place to record besides my home. I rented a climate controlled storage unit and set up shop there.
Read these stories and be inspired.
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- T.I. Posts Deep Open Letter About Ferguson Unrest On Instagram
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