Black men should be treated with respect

James Woodall

Living in a world that doesn’t recognize me for who I am, that’s sad. Believing in leaders that only see me and my brothers as a danger to the community, uneducated and ignorant, or both, is disheartening. Knowing that we all are aware of it, yet we choose to simply look the other way, is enraging. This is the state of the black man in this country.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one out of every three black men are expected to be in prison at some point in their life. Why is that? Is it because of the senseless discrimination and racial profiling made by some of our local authorities because we are seen as a potential threat? Is it because we are of color? Questions that need to be asked and answered.

Black men today are becoming more college-educated. More black men are “waking up”. Though many of us, including myself, come from broken households without a father to look up to and grow from, we too have potential for greatness. We, too, deserve to be given equal treatment, due process of the law, and respect. Not all black men are abandoning their family. Not all black men are doing drugs. Not all black men are in gangs or thugs. Some of us have a recognized purpose and vision for our lives and are prepared to make that vision reality. We are leaders and we also seek to make this world a better place.

However, the reality is that we are automatically categorized as black, unintelligent, and essentially less capable of doing much of anything because of how we look, before a single word or idea flows from our mouths. But my brothers and I are confident and prepared to challenge such perceptions and show you the true state of the black man. Now you just have to be willing to be challenged, or you become a part of the problem. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” (Dr. Martin L. King)

Woodall is the President of Southern Activists and the Vice President of GSU’s NAACP chapter. He also serves as a Senator At-Large for Student Government Association.