#TeamBlaria, just a heads up that given the events of last night, this post is going to be different from my usual posts, which are filled with jokes and GIFs. Today, it is hard for me to find the humor in anything.
As we all know by now, last night, a grand jury did not indict Ferguson, Mo., white police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18 year old, unarmed black teenager Mike Brown. I refused to watch this announcement because I knew the outcome. We are country that prides ourselves on many things, one of them being when we know better, we do better, as the great Maya Angelou wrote. Except we don’t. At least not with the things that truly count. Sure, we can make a faster cell phone or design a lighter shoe, but no, when it comes to life and death, when it comes to race and justice, when it comes to doing the right thing and standing on the wrong side of history, we do not do better when we know better. We seemingly try our damndest to repeat the wrongs of the past, which then inevitably begins the following cycle for black people: Shock, Anger, Heal, Repeat. And then they are forced move on. Not out of callousness, but because the hearts of black folks are much like the adamantium that courses through Wolverine’s skeleton. They must heal as best as they can because without fail, they are going to get hurt again by the legal system. They are going to get disappointed again by the legal system that was never designed to protect them in the first place. They are going to receive the painful reminder that their lives being taken from them in vain will be justified by the legal system and as stomach-churning, soul-crushing, and mind-numbing as all of that it is, black people know, deep down, that the only thing worse than having a heart broken is having no heart to break. So we go through Shock, Anger, Heal, Repeat. And we heal as fast as we can and then are swiftly broken again. Because? Because what else is there to do?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of that cycle. I’m tried of my only options being Shock, Anger, Heal, Repeat or going completely numb.
I’m tired that every time I see a black family in the throes of ultimate despair following a tragedy like Brown’s, I go, “This is what my parents would look like if this happened to myself or my brother or my niece.”
I’m tired of Don Lemon, Geraldo Rivera, and people of their ilk behaving as though the black victims of police brutality are culpable in their demise because they looked “suspicious” or “menacing” because they wore hoodies. Motherfuckers, Martin Luther King, Jr. & Malcolm X were killed while wearing three-piece suits. IT IS NOT THE CLOTHES. If someone wants a black person dead, they will be dead.
I’m tired of the myth of respectability politics implying that if only black people were able to fit within the confines of mainstream values (white values) that this – racism, senseless deaths, etc. – would simply go away. Trust me when I say, there will always be someone, somewhere, to remind you that you are black in this country. Assimilation is not an option.
I’m tired of spending so much of my existence proving that, “I am not the danger. I am not the one who knocks.”
I’m tired of hearing that race doesn’t exist and is MERELY a social construct, as if this knowledge somehow releases black people from the strife of the racism they endure because it’s only all made up. When race and racism is used to inflict psychological, emotional, and physical harm on others, there is nothing “mere” about it. Its very construct is all-consuming and defines the lives of black people from the day they are born until the day they die.
I’m tired of having my words fail me when trying to explain how all of this makes me feel to my white friends.
I’m tired of having to explain any of this to my white friends.
I’m tired of everybody wanting to be black (cultural appropriation) except when it’s time to be black. Memo to white people: Just because you listen to Beyonce doesn’t excuse your being silent when it comes to the daily micro and macro aggressions that are affecting the black community, and subsequently, America.
I’m tired of white people’s excuse for their silence being they don’t know how to talk about race, but then when I talk about race, they immediately chime in to remind me that maybe it wouldn’t be about race if I didn’t make it about race.
I’m tired of that because I have an afro and speak on black issues, that I’m automatically labeled as militant and angry instead of smart.
I’m tired of people expecting me not to be angry.
I’m tired of logging onto Facebook and seeing people with talking about how President Obama was racist for commenting on Trayvon Martin’s death yet were giving him a standing ovation when he cried over the Newton massacre.
I’m tired of keeping hope alive when maybe if I let it die, all of this would hurt a little less.
I’m tired of there being no new artists out there writing songs like “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” and “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” to help us feel better even if for a moment.
I’m tired of feeling like maybe I shouldn’t have kids because while everyone else is worried about global warming harming their offspring, I’m worried about the police.
I’m tired of explaining that black lives matter.
I’m tired that the value of black lives needs explaining.
I’m tired of the unspoken expectation of black people being that they are to have unbounded resilience.
I’m tired that in the face of gross indignities, violence, hatred, dehumanization, being made to feel invisible, being made to feel uncomfortably visible, being treated as less than, having to work two, three, four times as hard to get half as much, that the black people who rise above all of that, are not commended more.
I’m tired of President Obama “doing the right thing” and holding a press conference asking the citizens of Ferguson (or whichever town has to deal with the unspeakable tragedy of it being hunting season for black people in America) and asking them not to riot because of the ruling of one death. If anyone thinks, at this point in race relations in America, that people are rioting simply over Mike Brown, then. They are rioting over the countless lives loss:
TRAYVON MARTIN ERIC GARNER TAMIR RICE REKIA BOYD SEAN BELL RENISHA MCBRIDE WENDELL ALLEN DANTE PRICE AIYANA STANLEY-JONES JOHN CRAWFORD AKAI GURLEY YVETTE SMITH ERVIN JEFFERSON EZELL FORD BO MORRISON KIMANI GRAY KENDREC MCDADE TIMOTHY RUSSELL & MALISSA WILLIAMS RONALD MADISON & JAMES BRISETTE OSCAR GRANT AMADOU DIALLO DUANE BROWNE
I’m tired that halfway through listing these names and linking them to news articles to this blog post, I got disheartened and stopped because I couldn’t handle being reminded as to why each and everyone of these people lost their lives.
I’m tired I’m not stronger.
I am fucking tired.