Alive While Black

In December 2014, Twitter exploded with thousands of tweets using the hashtag #AliveWhileBlack. Alive While Black was a Twitter movement that focused on sharing stories about negative experiences of African Americans. The current climate of accusing the police of brutality at every turn was the original concept behind Alive While Black. However, the “movement” quickly turned into examples of experiences that so many African Americans face on a daily basis. Of course, this has to be done in 140 characters, so the stories had to be short, condensed versions of episodes like this…

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The idea was a noble, but feeble attempt to show that many African Americans experience things that other people of color can understand. It was also an attempt to educate people of other races that these experiences are not imagined. Instead, they are real. We get stopped by police based on suspicion. We get followed in stores regardless of our appearance. We get treated as the help when we are really the boss. Yes, all of this occurs in 2015. However, many people disagree and call these experiences a part of our imagination. Sorry, my imagination is not this good…

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So Twitter was ablaze, and I read countless, heartbreaking Alive While Black tweets and I started to think. I have numerous stories I could share as well. I am not a Twitter aficionado (see my 1,400 tweets in 3 years), but sometimes I do have something important to say. So I took to Twitter and shared some of my Alive While Black stories. It was a brief moment of cleansing that I “enjoyed”. I have to be honest though: 140 characters do not adequately explain the memory of these episodes that I carry around every day. I was pleased to have several people re-tweet and even share my anecdotes, as if doing so was their validation of each situation and an indication of having similar shared experiences.

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I have included several of my Alive While Black tweets here. Take a look and let me know what you think! I will let my loyal readers be the judge. However, I want to be clear that these are all real stories and memories I will never forget. By the way, this is not even the tip of the iceberg. For you see, I have numerous other Alive While Black stories. Maybe I will turn them into the  next book I write. In the meantime, I hope you can at least appreciate that people of different colors do have different experiences. Saying these issues don’t exist is a way to minimize, if not totally ignore their existence. In my opinion, in order to bring people together, we need to start by accepting that we are treated differently sometimes. Then we can move forward to find solutions.

By the way, my Twitter handle is @McabeeGary. I need all the friends/followers I can get.

Gary A. McAbee

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4 thoughts on “Alive While Black

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