I fit the description. I was a black man.
Could it be that, in a nation that has legalized racial profiling through such policies as "stop-and-frisk," the persecution of pigmentation makes African Americans indistinguishable from each other in the eyes of the law -- so much so that all are feared as imminent threats?
The shock is not only that a police officer killed an unarmed black teenager. That, tragically, has happened too many times before, and when the details remain murky, many people withhold judgment. The shock was that the police response to the protests was so hugely disproportionate, "like an invading army."
Hogwarts is run by white people, and let's not touch racism and Tolkien. Where are the South Asian superheroes? The Black people in Dr. Seuss? Make sure your kids know the world they see has missing pieces, missing people and missing stories.
If a black person can be gunned down and left in the street for over four hours with no disciplinary action taken against the government representative responsible, what does "equal protection" mean?
When I started writing about the gender disparity I saw in Silicon Valley, I took intense fire from the boys club. They could get away with this because such frat-boy behavior was considered acceptable in Silicon Valley. But things are changing for the better.
The profound division of American society along racial lines is part of a vicious circle exacerbating a host of social problems, from excessive use of force by the police to mass incarceration and wealth inequality.
I believe that having hard conversations is hard because we haven't put ignorance in its proper place. Ignorance has become synonymous with choice and that's not always true. If I can't ask an ignorant question, how will I become enlightened to the truth?
No matter where you are in life, finances can be a big pain in the you-know-what. It doesn't get easier, no matter how much older you get. So to help, we've devised a little roadmap of goals that everyone can follow to make sure they are meeting the right financial goals for their age.
Reloadable prepaid cards have evolved over the past few years, but many Americans are not informed on how to compare and benefit from this financial product. These cards can be very beneficial for a variety of consumers, as long as they devote the time to finding the card that's best for them.
Only by participating in the political process, building trust and cooperation with people unlike us, and using our smartphone cameras to expose official misconduct can we make America -- to borrow Dr. King's words -- be true to what we said on paper.
The words "college life" and "savings" are typically not used in the same sentence today. However, for college students preparing to move onto campus this fall, finding ways to save money may very well be as important as their academic major.
Black people have been dehumanized and disregarded in America since its inception; and it is thus time for us to truly realize that this country is not "one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
The election of Barack Obama was the Lexington and Concord in the latest great battle of race in America. We are a nation at war with itself. For all of our desire to move beyond the narrow confines of many of the events of our tragic history, we cannot. The president's election gave new life to what had been lying dangerously dormant for the better part of 50 years.
The expedient historical analogy alleviates any pressure to understand the moment at hand. One is free to return to the caldron and pull out the example that support one's preconceived notion.
As a lawyer in that system, I know that the American criminal justice system is institutionally racist, even though the vast majority of people that work within it are people of good will. We can change the system, but that requires us to recognize the problem and commit to making the necessary changes.
Just look at the facts, and it becomes clear that America's egregious rates of incarceration of blacks and Latinos stem from the enforcement of unfair sentencing laws -- laws that are grounded in racist policy, and that are desperately in need of reform.
For the past two seasons, Kim Zolciak has entertained the masses as the sole white woman with the larger-than-life personality on Bravo's hit reality show 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta.'
Since dropping her dance anthem 'Tardy for the Party' and cutting ties with her mystery married boyfriend, known as Big Poppa, the Connecticut native is in hot demand, making headlines -- again -- as the new season of the show gets under way.
Zolciak fills BlackVoices.com in on what's new in her world.
BlackVoices: What's up with your relationship with Big Poppa?
Kim Zolciak: He'll always be in my life. I was with him for almost five years, and we split up a while ago. He's a great person. There are no hard feelings. I just needed to move on.
BV: Did it hurt your relationship when people uncovered that Big Poppa was Lee Najjar?
KZ: I've never confirmed who Big Poppa is, so they can make assumptions all they want. I was with Poppa for years before the show. I think he was legally married, but his wife didn't even live in Atlanta. I think the stress and pressure of everything took its toll.
BV: Were you really engaged or were you just talking about it and he just got you a nice ring?
KZ: It wasn't the first ring that I got. I had another ring that I wore for a couple of years. I left him last season and I told him, "If you can't get divorced, I'm gonna go," so that ring was a promise. [He said] "I want to spend the rest of my life with you please hang in there while I'm gong through the process." I don't do anything for cameras. My life is my life. It's edited, not scripted.
BV: Would you date a married man again?
KZ: It's amazing to me that Sheree [Whitfield] was legally married and she was allowed to date, and no one gave her any heat, so at the end of the day, if Poppa had a marriage and relationship with his wife and I was his mistress that's one thing. He was a part of my kids' life. He legally was [just] committed on paper to someone else."
BV: Would you ever date a black guy or have you dated a black man before?
KZ: No, I've never dated a black man, and I can't say I wouldn't. I said before that I wouldn't because I come from an Italian Catholic family, but I have never been in that position. I've never gone down that path, and I grew up in Connecticut and there were maybe two black people in my high school. I didn't grow up that way, but love has no gender and color.
BV: You've talked about your bisexual relationship with Tracy Young. Is that over?
KZ: It was never like that. I think that she is a great girl, and we have a great connection. She's still in my life to this day. I know Tracy and the controversy, but it was not that serious.
BV: Did you get any criticism from the gay community for having this relationship?
KZ: People's opinion of me doesn't matter, and love has no gender. I had never been with a girl before, but I can't say I won't be with a woman again. I don't ask people who they sleep with. Why's my sex life so controversial?
BV: How's your new relationship with Atlanta Falcons player Kroy Biermann?
KZ: He's fantastic. I think because he is 25 and in the NFL, people think he is in the club and popping bottles and acting crazy, but I haven't known him to go to the club yet in five months. He's fantastic with my girls. You will get to see it unfold this year.
BV: At first, 'Housewives' footage made fun of you being a singer Do you really want to be taken seriously?
KZ: 'The first season, they made it out to be that way, and it was so traumatic to me. Then Kandi [Burruss] came along and did 'Tardy for the Party.' My daughter wrote that song, and it was so successful, Of course, I loved it. I always said I wanted to be a one-hit wonder, but now I have 'Google Me' coming out, and I love doing 'Ellen' or performing in a nightclub. Who gets paid to sing at a nightclub and hang out with a bunch of people who love you?
BV: Do you think you could live anywhere besides Atlanta?
KZ: I want the hell out of Atlanta. I moved to Atlanta like 11 years ago, and my parents moved down here. I really wanted to move to Los Angeles, but Kroy put a damper on that. I have a lot of friends out there. Atlanta is fun, but the weather kills me.
BV: How do you feel about Lisa Wu Hartwell not being on the show? Were you happy to see her go?
KZ: I could care less. I was so tired of hearing about all those companies she supposedly owns. I wish her the best, but whatever.
BV: What are your feelings on the Dwight Eubanks and Nene Leakes' drama? How'd you get in the middle of that?
KZ: Nene is a firecracker. Everything that is said or done, she has to go over the top with it. Screaming and acting all crazy. Dwight likes drama, too. But if you're in Nene's life and she feels like you betrayed her, she just pops off at the mouth and doesn't communicate effectively. So, it's difficult when something does happen for her to resolve it. It's screaming and yelling and anger.
BV: Is there any reason to be her friend? The girl choked you.
KZ: I didn't sleep for days. I have never had someone put their hands on me. It scared the s**t out of me. I am incredibly claustrophobic, and she strangled me. I was turning colors, and I didn't sleep. I was a wreck over it. I had heartburn, I snapped at my kids and finally I said I did nothing wrong ,and I now know what she is capable of. I never thought she would ever do that to me. I need to wear a bulletproof vest 'cause next time she might shoot me or something.
BV: What's going on with the wig line?
KZ: I'm still doing it, and I have made a lot of wigs for people but they are so expensive. They are between $3,000 and $6,000, and I am trying to find a manufacturer with wigs that middle America can afford, but right now they are custom-made and take three days. But the wigs you see me wear are from my own line.
BV: Do you think that you would ever do your own reality television show?
KZ: I definitely think that might happen at some point. It just depends on where my relationship goes with Kroy and my life in general. I really want to go to Los Angeles. I have so many things going on that it probably wouldn't be a problem doing my own show.
BV: How is being a single mom, and what do you think about Octomom?
KZ: That Octomom needs to sit down. She is silly. She's in a class of her own. Who does that? Being a single mom is difficult, but I love the fact that I make decisions for my children. My ex-husband lives in Connecticut, and they don't have to go somewhere every other weekend so I like that part of it. But being a single mom is difficult. I can't make my ex-husband step up to the plate and take care of my children financially and emotionally.
BV: How do you feel about the Bishop Eddie Long scandal? Did you know about the story before it broke?
KZ: I don't really know too much about it to be honest with you. My assistant was blabbing about it and playing all this crap about, it but I'm not really familiar.
BV: It's a big Atlanta story, Kim. Are you serious?
KZ: I know it is, but I got my own stuff going on here. I got my kids and the wigs and the book and the boo and the music.
BV: Do you think your girls are growing up too fast?
KZ: I think it's definitely difficult. Brielle is 13 and she's in the eighth grade and teachers ask her, "Is your mom really dating Kroy or coming out with a song?" and those things upset me. I think they are growing up quicker than the norm because they have to. The Tracy stuff was very difficult, and Brielle can read the Internet and Google my name and see what's going on.
BV: Why do you think the Atlanta Housewives are so popular out of all of the franchises?
KZ: We're crazy as hell and at the end of the day I knew Nene and Sheree before because we filmed the pilot together, and Nene is hysterical and its always the three of us falling out, not speaking for six months and it's just crazy. But it's all for entertainment. Nene is super, superfunny, and Sheree is the diva. I think people can relate to us.
'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' airs on Bravo, Monday nights at 9 p.m. EST.