Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I don't have a lot to say on this. People have strong opinions and there isn't a lot of sway in them. I also don't think there was any real surprise in the decision, no matter where you stand on the issue I don't think you were surprised.

If you are of the belief that the system is rigged against people of color you knew it wouldn't go to trial.

If you believe that the officer acted properly you knew it wouldn't go to trial.

If you believe that officers rarely get put on trial when they shoot someone in the line of duty you knew it wouldn't go to trial.

So I don't think anyone was surprised.

I guess what I do have to say is what I said before, if you think the anger and the tension about this case was just about Michael Brown and Darren Wilson then you need more friends who are darker complected than you are.

I find it interesting to read comments from people who I know for a fact have posted long rants about government oppression because it was suggested they register their guns. They will tell you that that sort of oppression just shows why they need to have them. So they can take up arms against their government. You know, for all of the oppression. And then to see them absolutely not get the anger from the black community boggles my brain.

You think registering your gun is infringing on your rights? How about getting stopped and searched because the color of your skin made you suspect. Not a suspect. Not for a specific crime. Just for walking while black. Or driving. Or, god forbid, shopping. Spend your life being seen first as a color, then as a suspect, then as a person and tell me again about your rights being infringed.

A few months ago I wrote about yelling at a sheriff who yelled at me. My middle aged, middle class, white lady self was only worried about getting pulled over and getting a ticket later as revenge. I have friends who are much more successful than I am. Higher on the economic food chain. Drive nicer cars. Live in nicer neighborhoods. Who would NEVER yell back at a cop. Ever. Because they know that the odds of them coming out of that experience unscathed are slim to none. Because their experience is based on growing up a black man in America. Very different than my experience.

That's where the anger comes from.

There was a shooting this week of a 12 year old boy. He had a toy gun he had been playing with. There was a 911 call, where the caller even says the gun is probably fake, and the police responded. The kid reached for the fake, the police shot him. He's dead. Twelve years old with a fake gun. Dead. Now the gun looked real (a blog rant for another day and time, guns shouldn't be toys or fashion accessories) so how would the police know? They will be cleared of any wrong doing. Don't be surprised. I'm not even sure it's the wrong decision. But here is where it gets tricky. If it had been a white kid would they have assumed the gun was real? Would there have even been a call to 911? The fact that this isn't an out of bounds question to ask speaks to some deep truths.

That's where the anger comes from.

You've seen the memes right? The listing of black men and women who have been killed by the police for minor crimes put up against the listings of white men and women who have killed people who were arrested. Not killed. Arrested. Sure you can cherry pick your facts for a meme. But the fact that you really aren't surprised when you see the pictures says something.

That's where the anger comes from.

So yeah, there is a lot of pent up anger. And when you get something like the Brown case it can explode like a powder keg. Do I think it's the right way to react? No, not at all. But have I ever reacted by coming out swinging when pushed against a wall? I have. Did it do me any good? It didn't. But I'm human. And that's a very human reaction.

I have friends who are cops. They have a really difficult job. They are faced with things most of us cannot even imagine. They have to react in an instant and then we have all the time in the world to pick apart what they did and how they should have handled it better. Is it fair? Absolutely not. Do I understand their frustration when they feel like they are doing their jobs to the best of their ability and they get branded as thugs and criminals? Sure I do. But that doesn't mean we should stop asking the questions and looking at what was done and why.

When you have an entire community that feels like the system is rigged; that there isn't a space for them. That no matter what happens the world they live in is going to view them as suspect because of the color of their skin. And that when they try to discuss it they know they are going to get accused of playing the race card when they know full well that the race card is real and the deck is stacked...


When you have that situation maybe it's time to look for the reasons why. And how do we move forward. And how do we fix this?

I don't have answers. I have questions. But at least I'm asking them and trying to hear what is being said. That's a start.

And we have to start someplace.

No comments:

Post a Comment