It's the day after the crazy surrounding Dr. Henry Louis Gates' arrest. The charges have been dropped and Dr. Gates has provided a full account of his so-called "tumultuous" run-in with the Cambridge police department. However, one thing keeps nagging at me. One of TheRoot's most avid readers, KDOG, posted an intriguing comment yesterday. He said, and I paraphrase: Dr. Gates should have kept his mouth shut. KDOG, like many, believe mouthing off to the police is risky and possibly suicidal behavior. I certainly understood KDOG's sentiment, but I'm not so sure black men should be a community of beings who hold their tongues and turn the other cheek, all the time.
Now I'm sure KDOG will correct me in my paraphrasing of his comment, but I'd like to ask Root readers this one question: When is the right time for Black men [or women] to voice their frustration with relentless albeit subtle discrimination and profiling? What does safe get us? Sometimes enough is enough, right? Sometimes swallowing the stress and following protocol doesn't feel right. I'm not talking about rising up and torching bodegas. Don't be ridiculous. I'm talking about simple and necessary purge. Keep in mind that without Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hammer, Mandela shaking loose the safety blanket and voicing their frustration, the black community will not be where it is today.
Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.