Ferguson Is Burning

Lesley McSpadden (wearing sunglasses), the mother of Michael Brown, reacts while listening to the announcement that the grand jury found no probable cause to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the murder of Mike Brown.
Lesley McSpadden (wearing sunglasses), the mother of Michael Brown, reacts while listening to the announcement that the grand jury found no probable cause to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the murder of Mike Brown.

#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:


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.

Author: Blaria

According to Serial Optimist, NYC-based stand up-comedian and writer Phoebe Robinson “is brilliant and able to critique some really complex concepts in a sentence or two. Bask in it, people.” Which is precisely what The Huffington Post is trying to get people to do when it listed her as one of “18 Funny Women You Should Be Following On Twitter,” but with the way things are going, it seems the place to follow her is on TV. Phoebe is a writer for MTV’s Girl Code and most recently co-hosted an episode of the new series Raising McCain, wrote on the VH1 pilot Chateau Buteau, appeared on FX’s Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell and Comedy Central’s Broad City, was a panelist on VH1’s Big Morning Buzz, and has been featured on several talking head shows for Pivot TV, VH-1, and the TV Guide Channel such as 100 Shows to See Before You Die, 25 Biggest Reality Star Blunders, and 40 Greatest Hip Hop Songs. When not on television, Phoebe’s a writer for Glamour.com and contributes to The New York Times. Her blog Blaria (aka Black Daria) was picked up by The Huffington Post and has been featured on their website. She has also been published in Time Out NY, The NY Post, and The Smoking Jacket. Phoebe has also made her mark in the world of stand up. She was a finalist in NBC’s Stand Up for Diversity competition and was a part of their 2011-2012 USA college tour. Since the tour, she has performed in the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the Eugene Mirman Festival, the New York Underground Comedy Festival, the All Jane No Dick Festival, SF Sketchfest, the Women in Comedy Festival, the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, and the New York Comedy Festival. Phoebe has also branched out into radio as she has been on Sirius XM’s Raw Dog Comedy, Canada’s CBC Radio, and bitch magazine’s podcast.

3 thoughts

  1. I have to admit that I didn’t really follow the Ferguson story because after the clear cut Trayvon Martin story I was shocked. As a South African we look at the US as the one who’ll always get it right & go protect other countries from themselves. So the fact that some random guy could shoot and kill a kid cause he’s wearing a hoodie and get away with it in broad day light was a shock. What makes Trayvon’s killer any different from Boko Haram. So we all across in South Africa feel your pain but it’s no use getting tired, but action needs to happen so that this list doesn’t get longer. You can’t give up the fight cause if the Malcom X ‘s got tired where would we be today as black people. You all have to keep pushing & pushing & protesting & speaking loudly against these injustices. The alternative is letting out black brothers die. ✊

    1. I was born and raised in Saint Louis and the whole thing is making my heart break in a million pieces. I’m just so sick of it. The city has serious problems with race and too many people refuse to change, so the whole town is stuck in a time warp. Black Lives Matter and we are all one race our differences in skin color shouldn’t perpetuate making one ethnic group into some type of boogie man, the easy scapegoat for all life’s problems. I know the difference from living in a city like Saint Louis, then Chicago and now New York. It’s not perfect here but it’s so much better than the blatant racism and hatred I saw growing up. I weep for my hometown. I really hope this brings about positive change, I’m not sure how it will happen but it has to happen. And you are completely right it’s not this one death but countless senseless killings and institutionalized racism that has been compounded for years.

Whatchoo Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s