A day after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of the unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, MSNBC‘s Melissa Harris-Perry turned to W.E.B. Du Bois, who poignantly asked in The Souls of Black Folk, “How does it feel to be a problem?” She said the question in the turn-of-the-century treatise is still relevant today.
Everyone has problems. It is the human condition. No amount of wealth. No racial privilege. No righteousness of purpose and action leads to a life without problems. Everyone has them.
But Du Bois was pointing to something different. Not just having problems, but being a problem. How does it feel to be a problem? To have your very body and the bodies of your children to be assume to be criminal, violent, malignant.
How does it feel to be trapped on the roof of your home as the flood waters rise and be called a refugee?
How does it feel to wear the symbol of your faith and be assumed to be a terrorist threat to your own nation?
How does it feel to have the president who looks like you demanded to produce proof of his citizenship?
How does it feel to know that when you speak the language of your parents, you will be assumed to be illegal?
How does it feel to know that if you marry the person you love, some will say you are destroying the very fabric of the nation?
Watch the powerful video here:
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