The knowledge that I live in a culture that is hostile to my existence has been background noise for my entire life. Because, for the most part, I have disregarded that low murmur, I consider myself happy.

What about the time i had to crawl under a car to hide from the rednecks that followed me for five blocks as I walked down the sidewalk? What about the cop who threatened to kill me while I was handcuffed in the back of his patrol car? And the handful of other slights and incidents in the last 40 years? That was the price of admission.

What did I get in return for learning how to compartmentalize these existential threats? I managed to avoid the incarceration industry. I earned a degree, and I lived longer than both my father and grandfather. I have a few gray hairs, a family, and a modicum of wisdom. I am a lucky man.

Clearly, things have chganged. It’s always been open season for black men in America. Now, it’s shameless again. I am an adaptable human being and I am adapting to this radical shift in my environment with a radical shift in posture.

If you come at me, and I don’t know you, I will assume you are hostile to me and my family. As a matter of fact, I’m not waiting for you to come at me. I’m looking for you. When I find you, I will deal with you with no half measures. (Rule #6)

I know this is paranoid. I know this will damage relationships with potential allies. If you can prove me wrong, I’ll apologize, and maybe we can move on to build something. If you are truely an ally, you’ll get it.

There is no longer any room in our lives for softness or willful ignorance.


1.Know your adversary.

Be willing and able (see #3) to apply disciplined analysis to those who would do you harm. Don’t waste your time responding emotionally. Feel what you must, do not let your emotions color how you see your adversary.

2.Be honest with yourself.

What strengthens you? How can you be compromised and exploited? Be as ruthless in answering these questions as you are in asking them about your adversary. (1) Be sure they are asking the same questions about you.

3.Do. Better.

What are you doing today that your adversary is not? What is your adversary doing that you are not? Is there a new way? Better is a habit you build with practice.

4.Grow your team.

A smart man once said, “Move as a team, never move alone.” Two corollaries: Keep it small. Trust and verify.

5.Wait. Watch.

Timing and preparation are the best ways to control risk. If you are patient and pay attention, your adversary will reveal how and when you can defeat them.

6.Move swift. Fully commit.

When it is time to act, do not hesitate. Do not look back. Let your sword be quick and sharp.

Otto Dix, Portrait of a Prisoner

Otto Dix, Portrait of a Prisoner



The organized killing of many people usually because of their race or religion.

As in:

“Where will you be when the pogroms begin?”

“Organizing the revolution.”

As in, Idiot, Be Good. Usually a short, heavy, rod or club used to beat the stupid senseless. Man, I really could have used one of these today.

Try this on for size…

The incessant questions from my daughter has kicked into gear. Yesterday she caught me short with this one;

“What’s a country?”

My mind automatically does something like this: Noun, person, place, thing…

My mouth does this:

“It’s a place…defined by physical borders, politics and culture.”

She was silent.

I hope I didn’t break that particular train of thought. I hope I planted a seed instead. I’ve got to get better at this real quick.

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