When I get mad, you can't tell me nothing. You can't dangle a carrot in my face and think I'm going to take the carrot and settle down somewhere. See...I expect certain things to be unfair and have prepared myself for disappointments so I don't get that darn mad often...but when I get mad fo' real? POOT.YOU.
Seems to me, this is what's going down in Ferguson right now. People are mad. FO.REAL.MAD. Not the kind of mad where you can have a good meal and get over it after a back rub...but the kind of mad that will make you skip a meal or two because dammit...you're tired.
I've been watching all of the demonstrations and marches going on all across the country in support of Ferguson with ambivalence because I remember the same demonstrations and marches about Trayvon Martin. I remember the same going on about Sean Bell and Oscar Grant and I remember it going DOWN-T in New Orleans about the Danziger bridge shootings. And I read and know of so many more. I touch base with my loved ones and have the same tired azz conversations with them, the males especially, about being careful and learning to detect danger in the presence of authority.
Street smarts is what they call it.
As a Black woman, I've never really had a bad experience with a policeman. When I was wrong, I was wrong, but they never acted a fool with me. Probably because my stature and weight didn't pose a threat to them.
Whenever I hear of police opening fire on citizens I try to always remember that police are people too and, just like you and I, they want to get back home to their family alive as well.
It's got to be hard as hell wearing a gun and knowing that there may be cause for you to have to use it to save your life and the lives of those around you.
Because of this, I was cool with them not releasing the name of the officer involved in the Ferguson murder. I felt that when the FBI stepped in, all was going to be dealt with properly and that officer would be investigated. I didn't think releasing his name during the riots was a good idea because I didn't want the blood of his family shed. I hoped they'd put his people in protective custody while they figured this all out.
I hated watching the video of the young man shoplifting earlier that day. It doesn't mean he should have been killed, but I just hated watching it knowing what it meant public opinion was laying on him.
And I knew that those who decided to release the video knew that too.
"Look...he stole some cigars earlier that day piece of shit thug!"
Not a good person right?
I had a problem with how long the young man's body lay out on the sidewalk for all to see. I don't know the proper procedure for these things but I feel like 4 hours was excessive.
I had a problem with, if the young man was really trying to take the officer's gun, and the young man was with his friend, and his friend stayed at the scene...why wasn't his friend questioned and/or arrested?
Lots of big, Black scary guys around I guess.
Autopsy reports say the young man was shot 6 times. Twice in the head. From the front.
Big. Black. Scary.
Able to kill a man with his very presence.
No weapons necessary.
I remember the protests of the previously murdered unarmed Black men. The marches. The t-shirts. The hoodies. The uncomfortably heated conversations with White friends and people you THOUGHT understood but who said shit like...Why was he wearing a hoodie? Why was he walking that time of night? Why did he...
Big. Black. Scary. Wrong. Blame. Victim. Character. Assassination. Assassinated. MURDERED.
I reminded a White friend this past week of some trouble her son had gotten into when he was 14 and then again when he was 16. They lawyered up quickly and got him off. No record. If he did some shit tomorrow, the news would report that he's never been in trouble. He's a good dude. Never did a damn thing wrong.
Money is a great eraser. The big block kind you used to get for the first day of school.
If a kid without parents with money did the same things he'd done...they'd have a record. They'd have been sentenced. They might have served some time.
If that kid ever got murdered by the police...the things they didn't have money to erase would be laid out for all the world to see.
The friend just nodded during my tirade. See...she's tired too. And it's easy for her to understand the unfairness but not really know what to do so she just goes back to doing what she does. Takes care of her family. Protects them with all she has.
Same as any mother.
Sometimes...it's too much.
I hope the dust settles in Ferguson soon and calmer heads prevail. I pray the violence stops before more people are hurt and killed. March if you want but public perception isn't changing. What YOU know to be true gains skewed outlooks from others.
Because Black men will always be scary to them.