This viral Facebook post explains the harsh realities of being a black man in America.

When a UPS package arrived at Sean Carter's doorstep that wasn't his, he declined to deliver it to the correct house. Instead, he called the shipping company to request that they come and pick it up.    

Why would a Harvard-educated lawyer decline to do something so seemingly simple and harmless? Because, according to Carter, for American black men, it’s not.


In a heartfelt, painfully real Facebook post, Carter explained how racism puts black American men and boys in impossibly difficult, and often unsafe, situations.  

Sean wrote:

"'But Sean, why wouldn’t you be a decent person and just take the package to your neighbor? Or better yet, you have teenage sons. Send one of them. That’s the perk of having teenagers — free menial labor.' The answer is because we’re black. And it’s extremely unsafe to send our boys to the home of any family that we don’t know in this predominantly white neighborhood."

This package has been sitting outside my house for days now. Why? Because we are black. And yes, I’ll explain.UPS...

Posted by Sean Carter on Saturday, April 28, 2018

A father to teenage boys, Carter brought up how a pervasive racism is in society, to the point where he felt uncomfortable asking his sons to deliver the package or pushing himself to do it.

Even though Carter is highly educated, lives in a gated community, and by most standards is a successful, contributing member of his community, he is still seen as a threat because of his blackness.

Carter goes on to cite the countless experiences of other black men and boys who have been viewed as a threat and subsequently criminalized in public spaces as reasoning for his choice. He specifically talks about Brennan Walker, a 14-year-old black teen who decided to walk to school after missing his bus and got lost. In need of directions, Walker knocked on a neighbor's door and was met with gunfire instead help and kindness.  

"THAT is why this f****** package will be sitting on my porch until UPS retrieves it," Carter writes. "Because I can’t trust that my white neighbors won’t see me, a Harvard-educated lawyer (or my 14 yo honor student son) as a roaming homicidal maniac."

Carter's post about "post-racial" America resonated with thousands of Facebook users, and the post went viral.

Social media users from all over the country chimed in to express their solidarity with Carter, share their own experiences, and express frustration over how black people are being treated.

Screenshot from Facebook.

Screenshot from Facebook.

Screenshot from Facebook.

Carter’s post was liked and shared so many times, he appeared on CNN to further discuss his post.

"There’s a reason that you have gates, and it’s not to keep the rich people out," Carter said. "It’s to keep out that 'undesirable element,' whatever that might be. Right now I have a suit on, I don’t look like the undesirable element. But in a hoodie or in weekend attire, I would look like the person you’d call to worry about your neighborhood. I wasn’t going to subject myself or my 14-year-old sons to that."    

Carter's analysis is right. A 2014 study found that black boys as young as 10 years old "were more likely to be seen as older and more responsible for their actions" than their white peers. It's a reality that black men and boys have lived with for decades, and it's a reality that needs to change.  

Carter’s explanation online that black men shouldn’t have to live like this is totally on point, but we should also ensure that we don’t only support Ivy League educated people of color.

Black Americans, regardless of socioeconomic background, educational pedigree, or professional status, should be able to move freely without the fear of persecution.

To ensure that black Americans feel safe in their neighborhoods, jobs, and schools, it will require non-black people to reevaluate their biases and subconscious stereotypes. When people acknowledge their inherent biases and work to see black people as humans as opposed to threats, we create a fairer, safer nation for all people.

Our country has proven time and time again that it’s capable of this change. Let's make it happen.  

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

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Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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