Notes for Niglets: “Nobody Will Care”


Dear Niglet,

Sorry to open this with a racial slur, but you should get used to it. I’m sure you’ve been paying attention to the recent controversy over the Trayvon Martin killing, and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman–or, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’ve been so busy roaming the streets looking for potential victims that you didn’t notice at all. Some people think that’s exactly what you’ve been doing, and you should get used to it. I’m not here to talk about the case; we’ve done that plenty, already. I’m here for one reason: To explain what the verdict means for you.

Basically, the verdict clarifies that your life has no value in the state of Florida–or, at least, measurably less value than those of someone who’s not black. It’s different if you’re an adult, because you can move away, and adults have more legal rights than children. But Florida is a state that has chose to define itself as a place that is simply not safe for children. Our state is full of thousands of registered sexual offenders, who commit crime after crime against children and are released to do it again; almost all child-killings are done by such people, but guess what? Their lives matter more than yours. Those people run free because it’s more important to keep prison-space open for people like you.

Now, politics is one thing, but from a practical standpoint, having once been one of you, I’m anxious to make sure you niglets stay safe in a state where you are presumed to be a dangerous thug. You don’t have to follow my advice, but if you don’t, you might be killed one day–and nobody will care. So, here’s a few little helpful hints.

There are a few points to cover here, so I’ll just hit them with bullet-points:

Stop listening to rap music: Great music, sure, but all it really does is teach you to speak, dress and behave in ways that make white want to shoot you even more than they already do–and that is the whole point. Although Zimmerman jurors never saw much about Trayvon Martin’s history, the general public seems to feel that because Martin wore a hoodie, had a little gold grill in mouth, and had photos of pot and someone’s gun on his phone, Zimmerman’s suspicions were correct, even though he never saw that stuff until much later. Based on that argument, most young black males are fair game. More of you will be killed, as society fleshes out the contours of the law.

*Don’t go outside at night: Not everyone’s eyesight is good enough to see black people in the dark, and in many cases it’s probably for the better. Black and the night are inextricably linked in the mind of the majority culture. When people tell their children to get home before dark, it’s because they are afraid someone like you will hurt them–and statistically, that’s entirely possible. The reason some cities have curfews is because of people like you. In you’re a black male under 18 in Florida, the only thing you’re going to find out on these streets at night is death–and nobody will care.

*That said, it may be unreasonable to expect people to stay indoors for 12 hours of every day, just because society thinks they’re dangerous. You may have very good reason to be outside–Maybe you’re a high school athlete, because black males are really good at spectator sports, which offers the rare opportunity to be perceived as a human being, rather than a collection of fake statistics. Or, perhaps you are part of that allegedly small percentage of black men with actual job–or, maybe you’re a drug dealer, which is pretty much the same thing.

*If you must go out at night, precautions must be taken. Don’t talk to white people unless you have to; your smiling face and friendly demeanor may be interpreted as a setup for robbery; your innocent request for directions may be interpreted as a distraction, and you may be killed–and nobody will care. Do not travel in large groups, because the more black males in one place at one time, the more dangerous non-blacks will perceive the situation. With all the guns in this state, and the sudden empowerment many feel due to the Zimmerman verdict, it’s just not worth the risk.

*Along those lines, this is probably the most important point of all: Do not speak to any white woman you don’t already know, and do not allow yourself to be alone with them. It doesn’t matter how good a rapper you are, or how many yards you gained playing football; even if you’re LeBron James, they will think you’re Kobe. In you’re in a room alone, and a white woman enters, immediately leave, and make sure other whites see you leave, to avoid any possible legal issues later. If you’re walking down the street, and a white woman is walking from the other direction, cross the street immediately. If a white woman asks you a question, the answer is “I don’t know–sorry I have to leave.” White men and white women have their own longstanding psychosexual dynamic, wherein even though the primary physical danger to white women is white men, neither believes that; they think it’s you, and by “you”, I mean any unknown black male in their presence. Obviously, that is usually not the case. But, the lesson of the Zimmerman verdict is that the risk of a worst-case scenario, however small, justifies extreme vigilance to eliminate any possibility. In such situations, like clubs and parties, it’s important to remember: You are NOT a person–you are an object, a symbol, a pawn in a game being played between white liberal women and the sleazy, violent white men they are programmed to breed with. Often, white women will seek to cultivate relations with blacks as an expression of discontent with the oppression they have endured under the historical dominance of white males, and knowing how much white males hate black males–well, that’s basically why twerking exists. People always wonder why women stay in abusive relationships; it’s because some ladies are biologically and culturally programmed to respond favorably to abuse. It’s all fun and games, until something happens, and it will be your fault whether you had anything to do with it or not. I’m not saying you can’t be friends with white people, or date outside your race; not at all. Those are all perfectly wonderful things, but they may get you killed–and nobody will care.

*Now, as to statistics: In your life, you will have the benefit of many white people who claim to know exactly what’s “wrong” with you and how to “fix” you. You will hear all kinds of statistics claiming that you are less intelligent, more inclined to violence, less likely to succeed in life, etc. You will also see and hear all kinds of well-meaning racist satire, because white people still think racism is funny–and, honestly, they’re right. When people say such things to you, it’s important to just smile and let them talk. Any objection to it will be used to reinforce whatever they were saying, because they already think you’re touchy, with a hair-trigger temper. As a young black male, you are simply NOT allowed to take offense to anything, ever. Don’t confirm their fears, or you might be killed–and nobody will care.

*Also, you will hear much earnest talk about the differences between black people and niggers, or between the word “nigger” and the word “nigga”. Even though white people know that black people almost always take offense to hearing white people use such terms, they can’t resist; they truly love saying the word. Imagine not being able to call a tree, “tree”, or a chair, “chair”; it’s a similar thing for them. When you hear such things, just smile. Let them say what they want; it’s just words. But it’s perfectly ok to say, “Oh wait, sorry, I have seen that Chris Rock clip before–um, I have to leave…”

*Since young black males are allegedly driven by a self-destructive impulse to replicate the violent deaths of their favorite rapper (Oh yeah, some people believe this), you may reject all this sage advice. You might be thinking, “Naw, nigga, I ain’t goin’ out like that; I’ma keep it, and y’all muthafuckas can kiss my black ass!” (If you’re one of those young black males who pronounces words “properly”, apologies; sounding “white” is a pretty good defense mechanism.) Well, that’s your business. Just remember that, if anything happens to you, it will be presumed that it was your fault, and that your parents failed to raise you “properly”. If there is a trial, all of your friends and loved ones will be viciously insulted, and your killer will, depending on his race, get paid.

Well, there ya go. That’s the best advice I can offer–but since young black males are apparently so stubborn, you will probably just ignore me and get yourself killed–and nobody will care. Actually, they never did, and the only good thing about his whole tragedy is that at least now the rest of you know the reality of your situation. Good luck, niglets!




About Shelton Hull

I'm a writer/journalist with over 20 years experience covering all types of subject-matter, with a specialization in politics, music, food and dance. My work has been published in nearly 40 different magazines, newspapers, websites and zines, in addition to occasional forays into radio, TV and spoken-word. Former candidate for City Council District 14 in Jacksonville, FL (2011), and a proud member of Gator Nation.

One response »

  1. Dear Mr. Hull:
    This was an excellent essay! The one thing we need most urgently in all of our communities is a strong voice to help guide us toward the light. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is gone and when he left us he taught us how to fight and use our voices as beams of great light for our people who might other wise stumble in darkness.

    God speed to greater heights and much more success in all that you do.

    Charles Micheaux
    CEO Micheaux Publishing
    Atlanta, Georgia

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