Racing Against the War

All the carnage that’s taken place over the past week is a repeat of acts, actions, and reactions that have been occurring since the beginning of time. I’ve seen memes that say all the things that are happening now have always happened, it’s just that we have video proof now. It’s true. The level of bigoted hatred that we’ve seen over the past week, the past months, dare I say the past few years is nothing new. We just have visuals now.


I was raised in the little town of Sarepta, Louisiana. Racism was and is blatant here.

I’ve often told the story of how my kindergarten teacher (who would also be my 2nd-grade teacher) was one of the most racist people I’ve ever known.

I’ve told the story how my 4th-grade teacher never took into consideration that I had vision problems when I mispronounced the word “come” as “cone”, but instead announced to the entire class that “they often mispronounce words because that’s what they hear at home” after she corrected me.

I’ve told the story of how one of my 8th-grade teachers read Tom Sawyer out loud to the class, but not before looking me square in the eye and saying, “I’m going to read it the way it’s written. Just like it’s written.” I heard the word “nigger” more during that class period than I had heard in a full lifetime. I didn’t know to tell one of my Black teachers. I don’t know why, I just didn’t. I told my mom and she was furious. I know she contacted the principal, but I don’t remember the outcome.

I was called a jungle bunny — a pretty one, but I was called a jungle bunny nonetheless.

My mom never allowed me to participate in any extra-curricular activities except band, and even with that, she didn’t let me travel with them. She was afraid. She should have been.

One of the KKK leaders in this town lived just up the road from us. We never had any real problems with them because my dad, uncles, and the rest of the Black men weren’t having it.

I vowed that once I was able to leave here, I would do so and never come back. I left in 1989, never had a desire to come back, but did in 2013 after my divorce. This is home. I love being around my folks. I don’t want to stay here. I’m not going to.

“Stay Off That Back Road”

As there are in many country towns, there are back roads. Taking them shaves a few minutes off any drive because for the most part, the posted speed limits are ignored. Mama never wanted me to take them, though. She always said, “So much stuff happened on them back roads.” She didn’t go into detail until I was older, but eventually, she told me that there had been many hangings in the woods off those back roads.


I have a 20-year-old son. God willing, he will be 21 on July 26th. As I type this, I am on pins and needles because he’s driving in from Dallas. Ironically, he had driven to Dallas the day the officers were murdered. He had gone to hang out with his friends. I was already nervous because of the slaughters of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, but I refuse to stifle my son’s life because there are idiots on both sides of the law.

Since all the carnage of the last week unfolded, I’ve unfriended some folks online and in real life. I’m not here to promote one person’s life over another. Know that I fully support Black Lives Matter. That does not mean I am against law enforcement. My family is filled with BOTH. I love them equally. No one is more valuable than the next person. I don’t want to see Black men killed and I don’t want to see police officers killed. I want all this nonsense to stop. I want people like Donald Trump to crawl back into the racist hole he calls home and to stop fanning the flames. On the other hand, his presence has allowed the hidden racists to reveal themselves. Thanks for that, I guess.

We all need each other. We can’t live without each other. Get over your fear of persons of other races. Get over stereotyping and categorizing people. Stop. Just stop.

Make It Stop

Cameron H., Will H., Jeff H.

The love, light, and joy of my life, William H. Hinton III, finished his 2nd sophomore semester at the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff on May 6th. He didn’t make the dean’s list or come away with any other honors, but he passed all his classes and that makes me happy. He, along with many of the other guys who went off to college are home for the summer. As I’m close to some of their moms, I can speak for them when I say, we’re thrilled to have our babies home.

What makes me even happier is the fact that he is alive. He is still in the realm of the living. My son is a 20 year old Black male and every day that I have with him is a blessing beyond anything any of you can imagine unless you are the parent of a Black male. I am fully aware of the fact that my friends who are not Black understand my concern, but their understanding can only go so far. Not because they don’t want to; it’s because they can’t.

I know they love me and my son, but they will never fully understand how it feels like my heart stops beating the minute he leaves my sight and doesn’t resume a half-decent rhythm until I see him walk in again. I would never stifle his growth, his adventure, his life even, by asking him to stay at home. I want him to enjoy his 20s. I want him to enjoy college life. I just don’t want him to die.

From All Angles Come the Enemy

Black males – young boys, teenagers, college students, blue-collar, white-color, and even older men are moving targets in any given situation. Whether it’s unfair treatment in the workplace or being overlooked in the first place when it comes to employment, troubles with the police, groups like the KKK or the Aryan Nation, or most sadly, Black-on-Black crime, they are fighting an uphill battle. Don’t come at me with the notion that all races have troubles — I know that — its just that Black men face more than the average person.

The Numbers Are Outlandish

I don’t care what city you check the statistics for, the numbers are heartbreaking. The number of Black teenage males and men killed every single day is staggering. With each passing day, that number is increasing.

2016 has seen an increase in the number Of violent crimes against African-American men. In Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Las Vegas, the number of homicides increased in the first three months of 2016 after killings and other violent crimes also went up in 2015.

In the tiny town of Cullen, Louisiana, which is 10 minures from my home, there was a murder not long ago which nearly shut the entire area down because of the fact that not only did we all know the victim and the suspect, they had been best friends.

The neighboring city of Shreveport has seen a record number of shootings and other violent crimes in recent weeks. Few days has passed when there hasn’t been a news report about another Black man being shot. There is always a vigil being held. It all needs to stop. The most recent crime found an 18 year-old boy shooting and killing a 19 year-old male over $10. That’s stupid.

It’s time for all of this to stop. All we can do is pray. 

Just Because You Don’t Say It out Loud…

Violence, Everywhere

There’s so much carnage taking place in this country. It didn’t just start yesterday or the day before, but social media makes any- and everything available instantaneously. Yesterday, before it actually made its way to all media outlets, the story about the executions of TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward was already posted on Twitter. Sadly, the video had been posted by Vester Flanagan a.k.a. Bryce Williams, the man who shot them. Late yesterday evening, we learned that Officer Henry Nelson lost his life in the line of duty in Sunset, Louisiana. We are still reeling from the unnecessary loss of Sandra Bland, but we also learned that the Prairie View City Council voted to rename a road that leads to her alma mater in her honor.

In a suicide note, Vester Flanagan claimed that he had experienced discrimination because he was Black and gay. I don’t care what kind of whatever he was feeling, his actions were despicable. What you are and how you feel will NEVER give you the right to take another person’s life. I wanted to vomit when I heard what happened.

Officer Nelson answered a domestic violence call and I’ve learned that the man who ultimately killed him was his own cousin. I’m not sure how close that kinship was, but that doesn’t matter. He died doing his job. Also killed yesterday during that man’s rampage was Shameka Johnson. She was the mayor’s sister.

Folks are dying at an incredibly rapid rate, yet many don’t want to acknowledge the problem or pose a solution.

Hardening of the Insides

After reading some of the posts and comments on my social media sites following yesterday’s tragedies, I sensed that many people are in the same mental predicament that I’m in. I’m angry. I’m confused. I’m scared. I’m stressed. I’m numb, too, but I’m also spazzing. Far, far, FAR too many people are dying in this country because of the stupidity of racism, (alleged) mental illness, and out-and-out hatred for mankind. Before you decide to chase me all over the over the internet because I invoked the word “alleged” in my charge of mental illness, let me explain what I mean.

Call It What It Is

I have a brother who was diagnosed with schizophrenia many years ago, so I’ve been exposed to the heralding devastation that it can cause. When I was a child, during one of the periods when he wasn’t taking his meds, he viciously assaulted a man with a knife. I witnessed the manic episodes when he would attempt to fight my father and sometimes my mother. I become just as angry when people allege that tragedies like the Charleston church shooting are the result of mental illness as I do when women allege domestic violence and it’s not happening. That boy who shot those people as they gathered for worship was just racist! Plain and simple. He hated Black people. To even consider placing racism in any mental illness category is ridiculously disrespectful. Mental illness poses a battle of the mind. Racism is taught. Whether or not it is taught by the parent(s), it is taught! You better believe that it comes from both sides of the aisle, too. It can be subtle or it can be blatant. Then you have people like Donald Trump who has received the public endorsement of two white supremacists, but claims he doesn’t need it. No, Donald, you don’t, but you know what they say about birds of a feather. Yeah, man, keep flocking.

Fear, Anger, and Action

Until the day I’m buried, I will carry a fear that only another Black human being can feel. I miss seeing my son a regular basis, but he’s away at college in Arkansas. I decided to go visit him the other day and nearly the entire time I was driving, I thought about what could happen to him if his car stopped on one of those roads. You see, whenever it was safe, I glanced at my phone to see if there was a signal and every time I realized there wasn’t one, I shuttered. He wouldn’t be able to call me if something happened. Then, my thoughts turned to Sandra Bland and I realized that I’m not as safe as I assumed I was either. While I place all my faith in God, I’m not stupid enough to walk around in anything but a hyper-alert state. I have taught my son to be the same way. He knows to keep his eyes peeled at all times and under all circumstances. He knows that he is not to stop at any of those little mom-and-pop stores for any reason. He knows that he is to fill his tank before he leaves Pine Bluff. He knows to get his road food before he pulls off campus. Until it’s safe for me and my son to travel along any road in this country without fear, I’m going to keep talking. I can be pretty loud, so you’ll hear me.

You Better Say It Loud

Photo credit: Turtlerock StudiosI’ll say it again: folks are dying at an incredibly rapid rate, yet many don’t want to acknowledge the problem or pose a solution. While I’m angry, I’m also willing to do whatever I have to in order to bring about a solution. Racism, gun violence, sexism, and plain stupidity are all so far out of control in this country. I’m so in love with the people who have taken the initiative to bring about change. I will step in wherever I can for the greater cause of ALL mankind. For those who either stand by in silence or worse yet, those who are indifferent, shame on you. We all live here and just like you, I refuse to give up the right and privilege of what’s mine. Do something.

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I Don’t Want to Bury My Son

This was my first Facebook post the morning of November 24, 2014 which was the morning after the verdict was read in the Michael Brown case.

After the verdict

I didn’t know what to say that night. While I was highly disturbed that there would be no punishment for the crime, I wasn’t completely taken aback. In a previous career, I was a Litigation Paralegal so I know just how quickly things can turn in the courtroom. I know that case outcomes can be fair and I know that they can be blatantly unfair.

When George Zimmerman was found to be without fault, I was numb. I was sickened. You see, my child walked in shortly after that verdict was read with a hoodie on. After that verdict read, Facebook, Twitter and every other crevice of the internet was filled with people wearing hoodies, people condemning the murderer, the act and the whole idea behind the fact that Trayvon was targeted because he “looked suspicious”. Even as I write this, my heart is just pierced with pain for his parents. He went to get Skittles and something to drink but didn’t make it back home.

When Michael Brown was shot, it hit close to home because I have friends who live in that area and their sons are young, Black men. I can’t un-see the image of Mike’s mom walking up and down that street, just overwhelmed with grief, knowing her baby was under that sheet. I can’t get the image of his dad screaming at the gravesite out of my head. If the sight of the man’s excruciating pain did not touch your soul, you need help.

My son is enrolled at the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff and he is just under 2.5 hours from me. His dad and I had gotten him a car when he was a Junior in high school and it was our intent that he use it until he graduated. It wasn’t in the best condition but it would have gotten him from Point A to Point B. Hold up either one of your index fingers. That’s the number of times his dad and I agreed on anything except the fact that he needed a more reliable car. He got him one last July and while some of the stress was relieved, my world pretty much comes to a stop when he leaves to come home and when its time for him to go back.

When it became clear that Will would be going to UAPB, I drove the route so I could:

  • time the trip
  • know exactly what towns he would drive through
  • determine if he would have good wireless coverage on that route

His route home

There are a few stretches of that route when he has NO wireless coverage. I cannot reach him and he cannot reach me. We both have iPhones so he shares his location with me from the time he leaves the campus until he pulls up in this driveway. You will never know how nerve-wrecking it is when that little icon isn’t moving. I know exactly where it stops and I know how long it should take for it to start moving again. I have pounded in his head that he must stay at or under the speed limit. My sister reminds him constantly to keep his music down. Yeah, I know White parents warn their sons about the same things, but see, if my child is stopped for either of those things by the wrong officer, the likelihood of him being maimed or killed is exponentially greater. The fact that it could happen in one of the little towns where he can’t get a cell signal makes me dizzy.

He had gone to Allen shortly after last semester ended and on his way here, he was pulled over for speeding. He was indeed speeding so I had no problem with him being stopped. Most people are scared when they are stopped by the police. My child was petrified. He said he had never been so scared in his life. He said the officer made him sit in the back of the squad car while he ran his license and the plates. He was the officer was very nice to him and they talked about football but he was still terrified. He said all he could think about getting shot or beaten. Since my health scare, he does everything he can to keep my stress level down. He didn’t call me when the officer sent him on his way. He didn’t call my sister or my nephew. He just wanted to get home.

I’ve heard some Black parents say they dress their sons in button-ups, ties and slacks to go to school. These are middle-school kids. Stop that. Even if Will wasn’t in college, I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t stop my kid from wearing hoodies. I’ve heard some Black parents say they’ve stopped letting their sons go to parties because they’re afraid of what will happen if they come home too late and are stopped. I’ve heard some Black parents say they won’t allow their sons to get tattoos. My child got his first one at 15. I paid for it. I’ve heard of some Black parents forbidding their sons to grow dreads. My child had a BEAUTIFUL set of locs before he chose to cut them. He’s growing them back, by the way. I’m not going to stifle my child. I’m not going to have him redefine his individuality because of a racist subset who decides that stereotyping is the way to go.

I realize that some White people may possibly see a tatted thug (that word runs me SUPER hot) when my child enters their presence but here’s what I see:

Will at 7 weeks  Will and me  He was ready to go!  
I am not without fear. Neither is he. My child faces potential adversity from a variety of sources, not the least of which is Black-on-Black crime. He could just as easily be shot over a stupid pair of shoes or his iPhone as he could be by a trigger-happy cop. My solution? I keep my child covered in prayer. I keep him before God. I ask that God shield him from any hurt, harm or danger and that he causes none of those things to another. He is not immune but he’s most definitely covered.