I’ve been crying all day. I don’t typically cry unless someone close to me has died, and I didn’t know Michael Brown. If I had to guess, I’d say the last time I cried over something not connected to me personally was in April of 1992, watching the LA riots on TV and smelling the smoke coming through my windows from vacant buildings that had been set on fire in Welston.
I’m tempted to write something about Michael Brown, but I doubt I know anything about this case that anyone who would bother to read it doesn’t know already, and my tendency when I don’t have something unique to add is to sit back, listen and learn before just adding to the noise.
Besides, every time I try to write something, I’m overwhelmed by déjà vu. Hasn’t it been written before? Could I just take something about Kenneth Chamberlain, or Trayvon Martin or Sean Bell and do a “find” “replace” with Michael Brown’s name in MicroftWord? Maybe I should just create a boiler plate document that I can fill in the next time this happens: Murdered Black Man Mad Libs.
Whenever someone (almost always straight, white and male) accuses me of not being patriotic, I inform him that I am in fact more patriot than he is. It’s easy to love a country designed by and for people who look like you. The trick is loving your country, even when your country doesn’t love you back. And I do. But it’s hard.
I’M SICK OF THIS SHIT.
I’m sick of being reminded, time and time again that my life has less value. That as long as my assailant is not black, and especially if he has a badge, that I can be killed with impunity.
I’m sick of having to unfollow white people on social media who I thought were cool 48 hours ago.
I’m sick of reading the comments.
I’m sick of not reading the comments.
I’m sick of having to blaxplain that just because the Post-Dispatch points a camera at someone and posts the video on their website, it doesn’t make him anymore representative of the black community than Geraldo Rivera’s televised interview with Charles Manson makes Manson a representative of the white community.
I’m sick of hearing people that don’t care fuck all about black kids on the south side of Chicago using them as a bait and switch tactic to pull the focus away another murdered black kid they also don’t care about. “Why are you so concerned with Trayvon Martin?” “Why are you so concerned with Michael Brown?” “How many black kids were killed in Chicago this weekend?” The answer is, I don’t know how many black kids were killed in Chicago this weekend and neither do you, and you can’t tell me a single one of their names because before they became a political talking point, you had no use for them.
I’m sick having to re-answer the same questions that I answered the last time some shit like this happened.
How come there’s no protest when a black person kills a white person?
Well, because when a black person kills a white person, no one questions whether a crime has been committed. It usually doesn’t take any public outcry or outside pressure for the police to do their jobs.
How come there’s no protests about black on black crime?
Well, there are, you just don’t know about them because they’re not in your neighborhood and you don’t read the St. Louis American (or, fill in your local black owned newspaper).
And the truth is, these people could probably come up with these answers themselves if they thought about racism more often than when a black kid gets murdered and the rally causes them to get stuck in traffic or not be able to find parking downtown.
I’ll close with this: I don’t follow sports, so when a sports related story occasionally piques my interest (say, Michael Sams becoming the first openly gay player in the NFL) of course, I’ll have an opinion, but I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on football, since I know nothing about it. I don’t closely follow the conflict in Israel, so even in times like these, I don’t say much about it as my opinion is an uninformed one.
So, if you move through the world on a daily basis, blissfully ignorant of your own privilege and the reality of racism faced by people of color, don’t pretend to be an expert on race all of a sudden, just because that QuikTrip on West Florissant was a really convenient place to fill up on your morning commute.