As I sat in the car this morning on the way to work, listening to the radio and the public’s reaction to yet another national disappointment, I can’t help but to feel all these emotions and more. My heart is grieving for a man I never knew but I see every day. The truth is Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Oscar Grant, and countless of others could have been any black male or female for that matter. When I see these faces I am looking into the eyes of my dad, my brothers, my uncles, my cousins, my nephews and my sons.
Quite frankly I am frightened. Who is next? No one knows and that is what frightens me the most. Initially I was highly anticipating the arrival of my son. But giving birth to a black male has become a daunting thought to say the least. To know that the value his father and I will place on his life will not be enough breaks my heart.
It is absolutely disheartening knowing that I will have to give my son talk about how to conduct himself as a black man in the United States. We will have to teach our son that there are more who would rather profile him as a burglar, hoodlum or a thug than there are those who would give him the opportunity to defy the labels society has established years before he was even conceived. We, as his parents, will have to teach him that his code of conduct is completely different from is non-black counterparts. Will we have an explanation that makes sense as to why it is so different? Probably not, because there is no reasonable explanation. There is no explanation I am willing to accept.
What upsets me is the fact that Martin, Medger and Malcolm all fought in their own ways so that the streets of Ferguson, Stanford, Oakland, Long Beach and New York would NOT be filled with outraged protesters this many years later. Yet, we are still here. Has it gotten any better? After 200+ years of blood, sweat and tears to rectify inequalities and social injustices there is still tons of work to be done.
I am disgusted with so much. There are people would love to argue with comments made in regards to conversations like “Black Life Matters”. There are ignorant people across this country that still believe that there is no such thing as white privilege. Some even have defended grand juries in both Ferguson and NYC in the recent decisions not to indict the police officers that murdered unarmed black men. There are even people, Charles Barkley, who believe that Eric Garner’s death was not a homicide. WHAT?!
Frustration is an understatement. At this point, I am not sure what I can do to help these injustices. I am very aware. I vote. I spread the word. I quietly and not so quietly protest when I am compelled to do so. I am not afraid to discuss racial disparities and injustices and I discuss them as I wish. But is that enough? Has it been enough? What else can I do?
I am tired. Tired of shedding tears over pointless and inexplicable murders. I am tired of feeling helpless in the situation. I am tired of having to worry if today will be the day one of my loved ones will have an unpleasant encounter with the police. Eric Garner was tired and I am sure black men across the country are tired. Tired of what? Tired of watching their backs. Tired of being approached by the police for minding their own business. Tired of having to be twice as good. Tired of having a target on their back because they are alive and black.
No matter how much I try to make sense of this senseless act and the others, the truth is I cannot. I am in utter disbelief and there is no way around it. My sentiments have not changed since George Zimmerman was let off. I think I have actually grown much angrier and I am looking for ways to channel it. With so many things to say, I can honestly say that I have been left speechless…