J.Allan Longshadow spoke to Kyle Jackson to find out what life looks like for a black man in America and what needs to change. Here is the next instalment. For the first part, please click here.
J.Allan Longshadow: If we talk about America specifically for a moment – I want to talk about Britain as well – but talking about America first, what needs to happen in America to fix this?
Kyle Jackson: A lot of people have different theories on that. Me personally, in my opinion, I think this is what some would call in the South, a come to Jesus moment. This is a time when everyone who has empathy in their heart needs to say, you know what, we need to cut the BS and just focus on how to make lives better systemically for everyone, especially blacks, because to be honest with you, the one thing that every black man – as a black man I can be completely honest with you here – as a black person who, and I’m a single black person, I have dated Caucasian women, Asian women, Arab women.
And the thing about it is that in all my interracial dating, you come to realize that people look at you differently. There is an air of racism wherever we go. Even when I go into very predominantly white neighbourhoods – and I’m a person who dresses very well, I drive a nice car, but even a couple of days ago when I was in Michigan, I was subjected to some light racism. You can call it light, but it’s still there.
“As black people, we want the exact same things as you do.”
So what can America do? I guess as a whole, it needs to cut the BS and realize that we’ll all the Same. I want the same things as a white person. And as a white person, you want the same things that I want. You want to be happy. You want to live. We want love. We all want money to spend on our loved ones.
But the thing about it is that there are some people who look at us as if – me being black – as if I’m less than them. It’s because of my skin or my tattoo. They may forget that I’m wearing a suit and tie, but they see me as different because I’m not like that. And even though we are not white, on the inside, we want the same thing.
“We have leaders who are stoking the flames of hostility.”
Unfortunately, there are still hostile negative feelings between the blacks and the whites in America. It needs to be resolved in a peaceful resolution. However, though, here in America, we do have leaders who are not leading as they should. They are instead stoking the flames of hostility and racial division.
“Politics will not win this – only love will.”
And that’s no good. You also have leaders who are using this whole platform for politics, and that’s not good. Politics will not win this. Only love will. The fact is that even people who are still, maybe let’s say, older than both you and I, or even older than the people listening right now, the fact is that you have to let go of your own way of making them realize that we’re not your enemy. We’re not trying to be hostile to you, we’re just like you. And yes, some of my brothers and sisters, they might not talk as well as I do or be as eloquent as a white person. But the fact is, is that guess what? They work too. They have jobs and they want to raise family. There is no difference, it’s just a matter of people having hate in their heart or feeling someone is less than them.
Then they treat them as such to be honest with you, to have so much disregard for a person’s life, to sit on their neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, regardless of what their race is, that’s inhumane. You wouldn’t even treat a dog the same way. And that’s where I think people need to really… Wake up.
“This is what we fought against in Vietnam.”
And there are some people I’ve talked to who think the Black Lives Matter movement is incorrect, it’s bad, and such things. But to them, I’d say you don’t understand, this needs to happen and this is justified because these are the things my father fought against in Vietnam. These are things my aunt and my mother and my uncle marched against during the civil rights movement – to stop these things from happening. And here and now, in my generation, it’s still happening. My cousin is 29 years old, a black woman in Houston and during COVID-19, she marched, risking her own health and safety. She marched against police brutality and the injustice that happened to George Floyd. And the fact is she shouldn’t have to, we’ve already done this march.
We did it in the seventies, hell, the Black Panthers in the seventies, and yet we’re still doing it. So to answer your question about what needs to change in America, it’s really about, I guess, the system, when you really think about it, because the system, unfortunately, is set up in some ways against us. The racial disparity, the financial disparities that happened to black people.
And we need to change that and the fact is that has never been addressed. And now is the time we need to, and you know, as a black man I can tell you now, when I go into places where it’s predominantly white, I maybe act a little better, a little nicer, because I understand that black people can not have those moments of, let me put it like this, you’re having a good time, you’re laughing and joking with people; but all it takes is one person to take it the wrong way and all of a sudden the cops can be called on you. Black people can have the police called them on any place or time. Ok, this could happen to you too, these things do happen – but that’s how black people live every day.
“People look at you differently.”
And even myself, as a black person you interact with everyone of all races. I understand that what I go through, my people go through. And it is painful. It truly is. To know that when I go to the store or shop with my mother, or go shopping with one of the women that I date. The point is though, in doing that, Is that in doing that, you realize that people look at you different, like, “Oh, well look at him.”
I remember one person said, look at little Sammy Davis junior. Now that was, in some ways, a, term of endearment. But in reality, it was a racist slur. But these are the things that we deal with, so what it means is that no matter what we do here in America as black people, we’re fighting an uphill battle because if, for example, you look too ethnic will be called a slanderous name. Or if we’re too nice or too well addressed will be called a throwback like Sammy Davis, jr. Or Duke Ellington as if it’s a slur, so in some ways we’re kind of fighting a losing battle. But the fact is is that we’re here. We’re not going there. We will watch you, that’s a fact, but we say we are in America, we don’t live in this country for free, and we’re not asking for anything except for our right to the American dream, which we’re entitled to, we helped build this stuff. In fact, we’re still helping to build it. Look at our military, look at who works our restaurants, our essential workers. I mean, I know that some people want to make America great again – it already is great. When you look at who helped make it great – ask around. We had a huge help from people who were black. So why do people think that they need to subjugate black people or make them feel bad?
I don’t know what that is all about, but I’ll tell you what though. We wouldn’t do it to them. So it needs to end now, otherwise, I don’t really know what the next step is because right now we’re doing peaceful protests, we’re doing marches here in America. We’re getting on television platforms to talk about the situation so we can end it peacefully so we can all live.
“Anger is not the solution.”
However, though, if that doesn’t happen, if this keeps continuing. I really can’t tell you what happens next, because a lot of my brother and sisters aren’t just tired of this, they’re angry. And anger is not the best solution.