Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, addressing the graduating class of Campbell University School of Law in Raleigh, NC (see excerpts on page 8,) spoke about consequential decisions versus random events that occur in life. Mr. Rosenstein rightly says, “You cannot control random events,” as though the arise from the purity of chaos. That is not the case and randomness differs depending on the world you inhabit.
Random events are different for Black people. In our universe, the dice are loaded, the field tilted, and the historic, inherent and unseen random acts of racism by White people makes the air too thick to breathe. Once, while working for a major financial corporation, I found a binder of resumes of Black business school graduates at Columbia University. It was in the garbage. All of those hopes tossed because they were of no matter. Little things like that. Every day events that are called “random” but when exponentially multiplied and added to the systemic racism of institutions, well, that’s why the air gets thick and there is wonderment by all, that Black people can’t seem to get it together.
Enter the smartphone and viral videos, delivering pixels of random acts that fill in their spots, along with criminal justice statistics, mortality rates, health disparities, wealth disparities, education, lack of a two-parent home, the low rate of income, put them all together and the tip of the iceberg of racism confronted by Black people across the country begins to appear.
And yet we survive and will thrive, because it is in our nature. Rosenstein is right again when he says there is no point in wasting time harping on random events. Our history has brought us here and we must live in this moment, fighting the battles we have been called to fight. We don’t get to pick them, they are the random assignments of Time.