Two sides to every story One man’s gloom is another man’s glory Sun to a shadow, rose to a thorn There ain’t no fury like a woman scorned Prince – …
*Reflections Summer ‘16
by Christopher CJX Joseph
From one American black man out of many, in heartbreaking, hostile times.
In yet another long hot chaotic summer. The turn of the century is at a confusing crossroads in
this great societal experiment of America.
I am frustrated…that ignorance still fuels race relations.
I am saddened and angered…people’s lives are lost.
Especially against my brothers, in our similar hues of brown, tan, caramel, cocoa, and chocolate.
No matter our rich cultural heritage, the Caribbean, West Indies, Indian, Asian, African. No matter our
education. No matter if we are complacent or the aggressor. Treatment is not equal. Black is black in the
eye of the oppressor.
I am shocked and dismayed…of violence begetting violence.
I love everybody no matter their origin, even the oppressors and the ignorant. They still have
families that love them. I am all for Humanity; even if they aren’t.
I am not surprised…racism still exists.
I am mortified and aggravated…our civility is in chaos.
Fifty-two years after the historic Civil Rights act and Martin Luther King Jr’s nobel prize there
isn’t enough implementation of these pivotal game changers. The physical walls were torn down while
the mental walls stayed strong.
I am aghast…of seemingly ‘educated’ people totally missing the point.
They challenge the good intentions of ‘Black Lives Matter’ or ‘Affirmative Action’, or any push
for equality they can only see from ‘one’ perspective and want to challenge positive unification. Just
because we have a black president does not equate to everything is ‘okay’. Try walking a mile in another
man’s shoes; then get back to me.
I am perplexed and overwhelmed…of political misguidance and corruption, all politicians are
I am distraught…that not enough of my brothers are able to escape the traps that society taunts you with.
Some revel in it, flaunt it in their actions, their speak, their manners, their music. Unfortunately
perpetuating the negative stereotypes. Disadvantaged parents pass on to disadvantaged offspring. Poor
neighborhood environment breeds disillusioned youth. Educational opportunities are underfunded or
dismissed nixing a prime opportunity for change. Oppressors patrol the areas with a general mistrust felt
amongst both sides. A pure mixing pot of disaster.
I am horrified…concocted substances seemingly offer an escape from harsh reality. The temptation is
powerful and all of our communities suffer.
I am disheartened…many of my brothers end up locked away. Physically or mentally.
Rehabilitation is bleak. Freedom is an allusion.
I am perplexed…that education is prioritized but does not cover its full potential. Common sense is
thrown out the door. Education over penalization.
I am dismayed…That Faith and Hope seemingly is lost.
I am encouraged…by pockets of hope.
From people of all faiths, all cultures, all backgrounds, speaking out against all the travesties and
calling for unification versus division. To work together to find solutions, to find common ground for
coexistence for humanity’s sake. There is strength in numbers versus fighting the fight alone.
I have mixed sentiments…for the United States. Land of the FREE(?), land of the brave.
We have great opportunities here, other countries are envious of this, or they loath us for it. Was
not a good history of how our people came here, how they treated the natives, how they treated their
neighbors. Ignorance was the norm. With so much wealth of information today, why the heck are we
still suffering? We can learn from the past but let’s not live in the it, we can make the most of life or we
I live by…Positivism over negatively. I strive for this daily.
‘We can make America great again’; for me, that’s a call of action for something better than
where it’s currently coming from. For people to ‘Wake up’ from the negativity, to challenge the
oppression intelligently, to speak up when we see injustice. Not just by shouting, or anger, or violence.
Meet them where it counts, I know it’s scary, but we need to report when we see injustice, file that
complaint, question authority LEGALLY. Lawyer up if needed. Soak up information. The justice
system can be challenged, and when one opportunity fails, let’s not let that defeat us. If anything we
learned from MLK, this is it. Try again. And again. Repeat. Anarchy is not the answer.
To get my own affairs together. To be able to give back to my community anyway possible; by
time, investment, inspiration. To respect one another, appreciate our diversity, and learn of other cultures.
As I grow, my environment around me grows.
I am….compelled and motivated.
To make positive change. Where and when I can. In my own life and my family. To encourage
my children to do the same. To be a strength to them when the trials of the world beckon and tempt.
Hopefully they pay it forward. Each one teach one.