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I never had the chance to meet you, but I owe you an apology. I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing you because before I was born a gang of White racist took you from us and didn’t even leave us with a body to bury. I understand you were killed because you had the nerve to tell a white person no, which leads me to why I owe you an apology.
You see Unc, after you were killed your brothers children began a movement to gain our freedom and manhood in this country. They marched they sang they were arrested and beaten and killed, but they were successful to some extent. Where you and your brother couldn’t contradict a white man my mother and fathers’ generation gained that ability, they could contradict a white man and have some hope that should they meet your fate something official might be done. Not like Shirley Sherrod’s father for example who got murdered because he asked quite nicely that a white farmer not steal his livestock, and the farmer not even be arrested for it, no now we can for the most part assume if a white terrorist murders us there will be an official response, unless of course the terrorist is a police officer and then well you can ask Oscar Grant up there in heaven what can still happen there.
Now we have a new medium of communication that is mostly anonymous. People are free to say pretty much anything they feel without the kinds of repercussions you faced. In fact the most they can do to me Uncle Marcus is toss silly things they call donuts or throw me out of there playpen. Little marks of their racist disapproval and in the face of just that I left the field.
I’m so incredibly sorry. You faced death beatings and jail, my parents and Shirley Sherrod’s generation faced death beatings and jail, and all I face are asinine little marks on a digital canvass, and in the face of only that I left the field.
To the spirit of my Uncle Marcus and my Uncle Harvey, and all the Uncles Aunts and cousins of the middle passage who gave so much so that we could assert our rightful place in this country who sacrificed to see me educated so that I might have the knowledge to fight back know in this apology comes a promise. I’ll never retreat in the face of racist or racism again and for your memory I’ll be thrown the fuck out of this place before I ever shut up again.