The Black Millennial: Fear

Fear: I've felt it all my life, bestowed at birth, molded over time.

Author: Mark

Hello old friend, though I’m not happy to see you. First time I saw you I couldn’t comprehend your power, but the effect on those around me left its imprint. You, the one responsible for the many childhood reminders: ‘Make sure you come straight home after school,’ ‘Don’t be hanging on that corner,’ ‘You better not be causing any trouble.’
— The Black Boy Greets Fear

Speak to the dangers of the world long enough and you'll find that those whispers have become thunderous quarrels. This notion seeps into the consciousness of the black youth and plants a seed that will take root if the environment provides adequate moisture.  I am no parent so I cannot confirm the effectiveness of such rationale, yet I can see the insecurities it may potentially bring forth when compounded by the disadvantages already produced from years of social engineering. Even so, what is one to do when confronted with the understanding of what little control they have?  This form of power is not only being pushed by society, but by our parents as well, as it be your own people.


Upon reflection, I was at your mercy my entire life, with each progression your intensity has strengthened. Is this limitless? I admit you are powerful; I came at you wrong my dude. To tell the truth, I’ve really been avoiding you. I actually thought I was winning, but no. I was delusional. Baldwin claims your power is intentional, forger of the person. You are The Struggle. At first, I could not see it.  But moving through different strata, I’ve witnessed what little comparative power you have over other groups. For my black brothers and sisters, the feeling resembles gravity, applied unevenly across color lines. How can this extra weight be racist? Why does your sovereignty seem cultural, why does your power feel familiar? Have we been conditioned in such a way that makes your power so suffocating?
— The Black Boy Questions Fear

How does one find something invisible?  Seriously, I’m asking for a friend.  I always believed I could see the unseen, feel the untouchable. Lies I was telling - boy, was I blind. Why couldn’t I identify something so strong? I suppose that is what power is, a weight that’s so heavy it is incomprehensible, intangible, tasteless and in this case unending. Yet, I should have…that is to say, it has always taken up residency within black communities and internalized since slavery, disseminated as a tool to keep a population of beautiful people in shackles, physically and mentally.

Glancing at the past, I am aware of your many manifestations. You, unfortunately, had my back in Junior High. You followed me home every day in High School. Fuck, it would have felt weird if you weren’t by my side as I navigated college, you know...trying to make something of myself. Like FALL BACK BRO! Why you bother me when you know I don’t want you... I want to say I hate your ass, but I now understand you are there to be conquered. You’ve stymied my growth and happiness for far too long. I’m gonna fix you, soon enough, but how?
— The Black Boy Sets Forth to Conquer Fear

There’s no denying that the black bodies have been an avatar for racial discrimination and gross inequality. We’ve seen the dangers of being black in America, which has laid bare the lack of control we have over our bodies, a cultural sense of powerlessness.  Vibrating throughout generations and refashioning itself to work as an effective roadblock to our natural greatness. While American slavery may feel like eons ago, the residue of an ugly history is still present, constantly on display throughout black life, reinforcing the barriers of the being, perpetuating an identification of the Other. The constant search for self-worth and acceptance are symptoms of control.

This form of control has played against our courage and sense of self, resulting in a battle within oneself. Nonetheless, I will say it did birth what I believe to be an attitude like none other, shared among all black people (the “Don’t Fuck With Me” disposition), to accompany a rage that froths within some of us. Sorry white people.
Furthermore, I will no longer let this tool of control rule my life, you have no power here. I’ve grown to understand that even though, it is an individual journey, the path is shared.  Which makes the struggle oddly beautiful and filled with melanin.