I needed to get this out of my spirit. Below are some thoughts about #Ferguson and Mike Brown.
1. When my sister was pregnant, part of me prayed that the baby was a girl because I know what my country does to black boys. I have a nephew now. He’s only 10 months old but he won’t be a baby forever and I worry for him. I don’t pray for his safety, because if my prayers aren’t enough protection I will be so angry at God. I am afraid of how that rage would destroy me.
2. It is a horrible feeling to know that people like you are hunted in their own country.
3. I wonder if this could happen in Memphis. I wonder if Mike Brown would be alive if the police force (52 strong, two black officers, according to an NPR story I heard this morning) looked anything like the community, which is 67 percent black, according to 2010 Census figures.
4. It is a horrible feeling to know how little value black life has.
5. This is 2014. What evidence is there to suggest that this won’t be happening in 2064? Don’t talk to me about hope and progress and ish. What in American history indicates that 2064 won’t be a high-tech version of 1964?
6. Don’t talk to me about how the rioters/looters are destroying their own communities by breaking in stores, tearing up the gas station, etc. They don’t own any of that ish.
7. Re #6 – I will not get exercised about the destruction of PROPERTY when Mike Brown laid in the street like a goddamn dog for hours. I will not.
8. Do not attempt to deflect the conversation from the shooting death of yet another unarmed young black man to the actions of the protesters, telling me some ish about how they should just go home, let the system work things out, etc. The system does not work for us.
9. If you think the protests in Ferguson are just about Mike Brown or Trayvon Martin or Eric Garner or Ezell Ford or Amadou Diallo or Oscar Grant, you’re delusional. People of color are deprived of full participation in their country every day in a million soul-killing ways. I can think of at least four ways that happened to me just today and the only places I went today was Easy Way, work and a meeting. And nothing happened at Easy Way or at my meeting. So… Yeah.
10. I think generally speaking, a fair number of white people are really afraid of black people’s anger. At some level, maybe there’s a realization that people of color have really gotten f*cked in America.
11. #9 makes me think about one of the few poems I’ve memorized: What happens to a dream deferred? This is the explosion, y’all. Eventually, we explode.
12. Do all white people know how traumatic it can be to move through the world as a black person? I know they can’t KNOW KNOW, because they’re not black, but do they believe us when we say that our lives are grotesquely contorted because of the supremacist nation in which we exist? I don’t know if they do. I’m afraid to ask – because if they don’t know, it may be because they don’t care. And what do I do with what?