“I Can No Longer Keep Quiet” 5

Sayings of an Angry Black Man


As told to Cliff Williams

For the most part, we’re not thought to be worthy of anything, not even of being here. But they brought us here.

Some racism and unfairness comes from being uneducated and uncultured. When you’re uncultured, you can’t believe that another culture is okay. When you’re uneducated, no matter what facts about racism you are told, you can’t wrap those facts in your head to believe that they are true.

I don’t care how many degrees you have, how many accolades you have behind your name, you can still be uneducated and uncultured. In America, there are a lot of people like that. Just because you have a degree or a doctorate in something, it doesn’t mean you are educated.

If you are uneducated and uncultured, it’s going to show.

Is our society, the American culture, able to grasp the hard things and wrestle with them? I don’t think so. There’s too much greed. We will feed a dollar before we feed a human.

My parents taught me to accept other cultures and other people no matter if they had an accent. No matter if they spoke broken English. She was good at saying, “What they do in some other country may be different from what we do, but there is still good in it somewhere.” Some people don’t have that. All they can see is bad in other cultures.

I need a break from America. I decided next year I’m going to do some traveling overseas, because I need a break. The one thing I need a break from is the political situation here. It’s too much. It’s overwhelming, and nobody’s doing anything about gun control. And then when a Black man or a Black kid gets killed, it really hurts. I just need a break.

Enough is enough. You can only take so much.

I think a lot of African Americans need a break, because we’ve been here so long and dealt with so much racism and scrutiny and just plain wrongdoing. Most of us have post-traumatic stress syndrome. We have it because of what we’ve been through. And we just need a break.

I need to go to London for my own sanity and to take a break from America.

People are more open to Black folks in Europe than they are here. They just are. I’ve been there before, so I know I’ll like it. I’ve been to Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. I had a good time, and I didn’t want to come back. The reason I didn’t want to come back was that I wasn’t a Black man there. I was just a man. Here in America, I’m a Black man, and that’s not a good thing. 

Having separate Black and White churches is not what God wanted. Humans did that. It isn’t what God wanted in the first place. It is separatist stuff. 

If this country wants to change, there’s going to have to be true forgiveness in the Black community. But White folks need to stop. They just need to stop.

White folks have been in control forever. Why can’t you accept us? My question is, “What did the Black community do to you for you to have dealt with us like this? What did we do?” That’s my question. “What did we do for you not to want us to have anything? Not jobs. Not education. What did we do?”

Nobody wants to take responsibility for slavery. Because if they did, it would be a problem when it’s time for money to be handed out that serves the Black community.

I’m going to go back to slavery. Why didn’t you want Black people to read? So you could control? Is it still about controlling? And belittling? And keeping people underneath? Is that what it’s about?

No matter what you do, there will be some repercussions from it. 

© 2023 by AJ


Edited by Cliff Williams from a recorded and transcribed conversation with AJ on May 4, 2023. AJ is an African American man who lives in Chicago. He was in his mid-fifties when we talked. 

For a list of other sayings in this series, with links, go to "I Can No Longer Keep Quiet."

Home page of Cliff Williams