I can’t not say something. (Excuse my bad grammar, but you’ll get over it!) There is just so much on my mind so I’ll probably jump around a lot. I figured I would write to try and keep from crying and/or my mind exploding (as tears well up in my eyes for the third time tonight).
As I was sitting in my car listening to the radio and reading my Twitter feed, I heard the “no indictment” decision of Officer Darren Wilson for killing Mike Brown. I was devastated yet not surprised. Honestly, I shed a few tears. I have lost even more faith in our American justice system. The number of African American youth, men specifically, who are killed in this country with their killers not facing any punishment, or in this case, even being put on trial, is heartbreaking and wrong.
I do believe that this country does not value the lives of black people. I do believe that Darren Wilson should have a murder charge placed on him. I’m no lawyer, I’m no police officer, I’m no African American man- but killing someone constitutes a trial to at least look into the situation in more depth.
Let me just say, I am not one to believe in racial superiority of any kind. I believe that we are all equal as human beings- my racial category is a genetic factor and has no bearing on who I am as a person at birth. Society defines and leaves an imprint as to what is expected of me- mentally, emotionally, racially, stereotypically, due to three basic factors, 1) race 2) gender and 3) class. Just like there are certain ways, deemed by society, that you are supposed to act and live your life by the way God made you. All that I mean by this is that people can come up with plenty of ideas about who you are just by looking at you. We all make these assumptions, I am no different. I believe that I am different because I embrace differences among people rather than look down upon them.
I am so grateful to live in this country and would not want to live anywhere else. I have had the extreme privilege of growing up and living my entire life in liberal California, not knowing true racism but knowing (fortunately, not until a later age) that I am seen as different and undervalued within larger society because of my skin color. I wouldn’t want to live in any other state either. God willing, I don’t get racially profiled and shot one day, or my brother, or my cousins, or my dad, or my friends. No one, regardless of race, should have to endure that.
I know that there are problems with our justice system. I know that there are problems with bad cops. I know that there are black men (as well as Caucasian, Mexican, you name it) who commit heinous crimes that should be punished. We have to remember though, there are positives in this world as hard as it may seem. There are positives in our justice system, there are good cops, just as there are good men. My skin color is not a crime. The way that you perceive me due to my skin color is not a crime. The way that you treat me unfairly due to my skin color could be a crime.
The issue lies in the everlasting stereotypes of *insert racial category here* people.
I remember exactly where I was when George Zimmerman was held “not guilty” for killing Trayvon Martin. I remember I cried that day too. I remember thinking, as sad as I was about the outcome, that maybe the evidence was just not there but God knows what really happened- it’s not for me to judge. But this, folks, really, we all saw Mike Brown laying on the pavement. So many people were there in person, saw what happened, and took to social media to share this brutality with the rest of the world. The DA said in his statement tonight that it was CLEAR Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown and that social media was the cause of a lack of evidence because of multiple contradicting eyewitness accounts. Correct me if I’m wrong, I thought that murder was a good enough reason to put someone on trial but I’m no expert.
Back in August after Michael Brown was shot by Darren Wilson, I remember having a conversation with someone and he said that what is going on in Ferguson isn’t a race issue. To which I replied, how is it NOT about race? Of course this led to a debate about him thinking this kid really did something wrong and the same thing would have happened had Mike Brown not been black. My thinking was that Mike Brown was killed and profiled because he is black. The jury is still out on that one as well as he and I agreed to disagree. That brings me to my next point though, it is crazy to me how some people think that black people are complaining about this!! How are we complaining? How are we “making” this a race issue? How are so many young black men being shot and killed and nothing being done about it considered ok? Please someone answer me. I would love to hear a comment from the other side. Keep in mind, these are real questions I have about the mind of someone who thinks in a polar opposite way than I do. I am OPEN FOR CONVERSATION! We may not see eye to eye but I always make the effort to try and understand different perspectives!
Regardless, these are the conversations that we need to be having. Conversations about race, equality, inequality, etc. It is not about having the world understand the black community, it is about us, as black people and fellow members of society, having a better understanding the world as well. I truly believe that understanding and acceptance of one another is what is needed to make the world a better place. We need to stop hating the people who don’t look like us. We need to stop perpetuating stereotypes about one another. We need to teach our kids better so that we don’t live up to the hatred of our current world. At 24 years young, one of my biggest fears for my future is that with the present state of society, my future kids will not get a fair chance at life due to their skin color. No matter who I marry and have kids with, they will be black and there is nothing that I can do to change that.
Maybe equality is all just wishful thinking. I know that this ideal reality of mine may seem surreal at this point especially in some areas of the country but if the mind can conceive it, you can achieve it. I hope to God that we can.
I’m praying for the people in Ferguson tonight. Please be safe and know that there are so many people who stand in unity with you.
Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till, and to all of our fallen angels gone too soon- you have not passed in vain. #RIP