I am not White, therefore, inauthenticity would ensue if I were to tell you my story from a White perspective.
I am not Hispanic, therefore, inauthenticity would again ensue if I were to tell you my story from a Hispanic perspective.
I am Black and I can only tell you my story, authentically, from my Black perspective, the perspective true to my reality.
I inherit the ability, however, to do all I can to enhance the value of my life and enhance the potential of my legacy.
Sadly, Michael Brown, murdered teen in Ferguson, Mo., does not have that opportunity to enhance the value of his life — cruel murder stole his opportunity. With his blood he painted a Ferguson, Mo., street red, and his unarmed corpse that laid prostrate on that same street seemingly ignited national outrage.
The death of Brown and the national attention on his death revealed to me the value of a Black life in America.
Following Brown’s death, it was interesting and unfortunate to observe the way the media portrayed the value of a Black life. Amidst the violence, peaceful protests and promoted chaos, the media seemingly focused on the looting and rapid crime, rather than the peaceful protests occurring in Ferguson — promoting a “disorderly” evaluation of the Black community.
Furthermore, it was interesting how individuals stretched to promote Mike Brown’s “unlawful” past and promote his alleged theft occurrence at a convenience store shortly before his murder—seemingly disdaining the value of the Black male.
Even if we take a look at magazine stands, how many people of color do we see? If we take a look at some of the recent Hollywood blockbusters, how many people of color do we see? Problematically, only four to five films in the top 50 grossing movies in 2014 contained a person of color as its leading actor, according to BoxOffice.com. If we take a look at our Waves community, how many people of color do we see?
Interestingly, racial demographics aren’t readily accessible to the public from a Pepperdine website. Therefore, are official percentages unavailable or does racial diversity not matter? Nevertheless, if you choose to see what I see, the numbers may be improving, but they are still dismal. What does that say about the value of a person of color? How does such representation of color translate to the perception of our value?
We must value and preserve the quality differences, skills, experiences and abilities that enhance our community. Through ignorance, racial insensitivities and stereotype endorsement, we often demolish those differences verbally, emotionally and socially. Racial insensitivities that arise from the cultural ignorance of the Waves community, offend; with such flaw, we cannot fulfill Pepperdine’s vision of altruistic leadership and sincere service.
We must strive to eradicate our ignorance, not our meaningful differences.
Follow Joshua Gray on Twitter: @theJoshuaGray