For those of you don’t know, My name is Zephry Wright. On September 23 I will be 20 years old. In the Fall I will be a sophomore at Brandeis University. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida to a “single mother” (my father has always been very actively involved in mine and my little brothers lives however he is married and was never married to my mother) of 4 kids, my older sister who is 35, my sister who passed at 14, myself, and my 14 year old brother. I was the Valedictorian of my high school, which I am not boastful about because to be honest, I could have done a lot better. My college GPA is currently 3.001. I volunteered as Big Brother during my freshman and sophomore years of high school and volunteered at a Boys and Girls Club for two years. Senior year I was the president of my high school club Epsilon: Society of Distinguished Gentlemen. I do improv comedy, I fucking love puppies, and I can barely stand direct eye contact with strangers for more than ten seconds…
And I am sitting here in my room crying because I am scared for my life.
I am a Black Male.
I came to tumblr tonight trying to escape the tragedies of the world, to just look at some funny pictures, did-you-know posts, and vines before I went to sleep. But as I scroll and scroll and scroll I see more and more about my fellow people of color being treated so inhumanely. I know it’s out there. I know it exists. I don’t try to hide from it. But goddamnit. Every text post, every photoset I just keep thinking about what the media will say about me if I end up being the next victim…
"Videos on Zephry’s phone reveal that he was a habitual smoker" because I have like 4 videos of me and my friends singing and freestyling while high or with college friends in the woods. Never mind the fact that I quit to set a better example for my little brother or that I only started last summer and continued infrequently.
"Wright had behavior issues as a child" because when I was in kindergarten I constantly fought this one boy named Alphonso in after care. Never mind the fact that staff could verify that he was always the aggressor. That half of the fights were on the behalf of other kids being picked on by Alphonso. That the kids mother once sent him to attack me after seeing he had a black eye and then pulled me away and slapped me when I was better at defending myself than he was at attacking me.
"Wright was suspended from school" One time. For two days. For “leaving class early” (I was in pull-outs for calculus AB and the teacher left to get his own lunch off campus so my best fried and I, being the only two in that classroom, left the room) to get a good spot in the lunch line for the high school’s only 40 minute lunch period. That didn’t even go on record because the principal told me he’d wipe it if I brought my dad in to see him. In fact, he forgot about it until I told him I brought my father to see him. He never even put it in. Need I say more?
I was once stopped by the police while riding my bike home from McDonalds. The cop puled up to me and I got off the bike and extended the kick stand. I was wearing a small bookbag that I had the McDonald’s bag in and took it off to rest it on the bike seat. He asked me where I was coming from and when I said McDonald’s he literally asked me, with a serious face “Is that the school you go to?" Mind you, I pointed towards the McDonald’s and the sign was in view. When I told him I could show him the bag and reached for the backpack, he put his hand on his hip and said “Woah, don’t do that.”
I was pulled over once while driving to McDonald’s with a friend (yes I eat shitty food, deal with it). I apparently turned wide and almost hit a van that was holding the cop who pulled me over’s partner inside. When he took our ID’s, he asked me then my friend “When was the last time you got out of jail?" Not have you ever been or have you recently been released from, but when was the last time implying there there were multiple times. I had to ask him to repeat the question out of shock.
I was pulled over once for turning left at an intersection when I still had a green light.
I am so terrified of ending up the next Trayvon or Mike Brown that I don’t even have the courage to ask “What am I being stopped for?” which I have a right to know. Every time I have an encounter with law enforcement my only thoughts are fucking self preservation. How do I not provoke an attack? How do I avoid being arrested. How do I look less threatening. And I feel like a shitty fucking coward every time. I tell my fiends and they’re like “You should have said… should have done…. I would have …” And when they are being logical, they are usually right.
But I will probably never take their advice.
We live in a world where black victims are blamed while white suspects are coddled (from this post).
It’s sad when one of your biggest goals in life to sail under the fucking radar.
I don’t want to be a martyr for change.
I don’t want to be the reason for peaceful demonstrations.
I don’t want to be the precedent for law reform.
I just want to live.