Life through the eyes of a young Black man


Junior Keith L. Johnson Jr. shares his experiences as a young Black man.

Keith Lamont Johnson Jr., Guest Contributor

This op/ed essay was submitted by Junior Keith Lamont Johnson Jr.


Calm, cool, collected, don’t frown, you don’t want to scare them.

Smiling ear to ear doesn’t make them see you as a non-threat.

Bow down to the police or you become the next statistic, you get pulled over, put your hands on the dashboard “no sir, yes sir” are the main things you should say.

Don’t yell at her; she’ll call the cops.  Move wrong and you’re just a walking statistic.

But you’ll never know how it feels to have that told to you or even have to tell your child that, so why do you think you can judge me based on my skin color?

May 25th 2020 burned into my mind like a branded cow. Hearing the whimpers of my brother calling for his mother as everyone sat around like Fox 9 news recording the next rocket take off. Blue suit, gold, badge, pale skin, don’t ever disrespect the uniform even though the uniform is digging more graves than gravediggers.

May 13 2020 forced into my thoughts like a bed-ridden patient eating through the tube, presser and speed through the tube being forced into our mouths meanwhile blood curdling screams are heard from the streets as our Sleeping Beauty sister was shot and killed.

Ready, set, hike says the quarterback as he takes his arm back catching that ball and then passing it down the field 32 times, holes riddling the wall as my sitter receives the ball lights flashing as the blue uniformed man scores a touchdown. He goes back to the locker room and is called a hero as my sister gets carried to the morgue ready to get dissected like some crazy science experiment.

But you will never understand how it feels to have to worry the same fate for your children. The worry of the fact your child’s life is safer behind a blue uniform as he raises his arm and his hands fly back as a black body falls. But why do you think you can judge me based on my skin color?