The Willie Horton ad campaign (1988)

“When George Bush used the Willie Horton ad, he knew what he was doing.” Politician Paul Tsongas.

Dear journal,

Tonight I saw something on TV that made me question my worth. It made me sit back and really think about everything that I’m doing. I’m holding down a job, going to college and putting money aside for the future. But, what I saw made me realise that no matter how hard I try I’ll never be seen as equal. There will always be someone looking for an excuse to put me down. Desperately trying to squeeze me into a box that I don’t fit into.

I overlook the people who cross the street when they see me approaching. I ignore the security guards who follow me around Macy’s. Even when me and Omar got pulled over last week, I convinced myself that we must have been going too fast. Why else would they stop us?

I’ve never been part of a gang, sold drugs or killed anyone. Raping a woman has never crosed my mind. Yet the colour of my skin seems the be the only thing ignorant people care about. Forget terrorism or the Cold War. Black men are the biggest threat to American security.

There are white, Asian and Mexican Willie Horton’s throughout this country. But, politicians are only focussed on the black  male face of crime. They wouldn’t put a brother like me on TV. I can just hear it now, “How dare he succeed?”, “Uncle Tom”, “coon”. Black men like me spoil it. We ruin the racist agenda.  A 4.0 GPA and a 2 parent household doesn’t fit in with that.

The thing is, we didn’t have a choice in this. Nearly 400 years later and we still don’t have a say. Yeah I’m free from slavery, but I’m a grown ass man whose not even allowed to decide how I’m represented. People like Dukakis get to make that choice for me.

For black men

By Shaurna Cameron

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