I hear it, see it and feel it as I run my hand across the piece of paper. I question do I correct you or allow your ignorance to continue. But when I allow your ignorance to continue I beat myself up inside because of a message I attempt to deliver and cringe every time you say it. But when I do correct you and inform you I get excited because I have educated you about a young man that was shot killed for no reason.
If you haven’t already figured it out, my name is Tamir Harper, but I like to say Tamir D. Harper so that those that are ignorant are reminded of the fact that my name isn’t Tamir Rice.
For those of you who have forgotten, Tamir Rice was killed by Chicago police three years ago when he was armed with an Airsoft Gun and the 911 Dispatcher failed to relay clear information to the Police Officer.
For people like me, the confusion is funny because I am not the only Tamir in my world, although I might be the only one in yours. In my few years of being in school, I have had over 8 schoolmates with the same name with varied spellings. Between all of us, we all were different. Each of us had different traits, from being loud to very quiet or tall to short. The Tamirs were on different tracks, but I do not believe any of us were on track to being shot and killed by a Police Officer.
But something I don’t express is how privileged it is to be named Tamir, and to be confused with the person whose life was unjustly taken. I get to uphold the legacy of a brilliant young man. Every white man that call me Mr. Rice cringe ten times harder because I correct him. I correct him, but tell him how privileged I am. When adults read my resume and then say “please welcome Mr. Rice,” I walk up to them and say “thank you.” I’m privileged because every time you hear the name Tamir Rice you hear about the things he could have done if his life wasn’t taken.
So let me drop some knowledge for those that don’t understand what I’m saying. It’s like having a powerful name like Queen Bey. My nickname used to be Mirmir, but now it’s Tamir Rice. The name that some just say or even write on tickets for events. The name Tamir must now be held to a higher standard. All of the Tamir’s in the world must walk with their heads high and push through the barriers we encounter. We are carrying the name and the reputation of Tamir Rice with us.