There is a lot of misunderstanding going around right now. People that feel that Darren Wilson was in his right to shoot Mike Brown don’t understand why people aren’t trusting the system. People that feel that Mike Brown was murdered by Darren Wilson don’t understand why people can’t understand that Black America is still living under a system of oppression that is constantly to its disadvantage.
Then we got feelings. People are outraged, angry, sad, frustrated, distraught, depressed, and scared. These feelings are being felt on both sides of the issue. Police officers are in fear because they either haven’t had proper training or they are in fear of what the civilian they are encountering is going to do. Black Americans are in fear because they are in fear of dying. Literally. Outrage is being felt due to some looting and rioting going on; people who are outraged about this aren’t seeing the bigger picture. Yes, it isn’t good. Yes, it is not exactly helpful. Yes, it damages property. Outrage is also being felt because Black Americans are dying. Literally.
Luvvie Ayaji (if you don’t know her, I recommend you get on this bandwagon) broke it down best when she said “Those people who are rioting in Ferguson? Well, I can’t say I blame them. Because anger can be so palpable that it gurgles up your throat and makes your flesh break out in hives. We rage because feeling powerless makes you want to burn something to the ground.” It may not be the most productive way to deal with anger, but it makes sense. It doesn’t mean that anyone is condoning it. But, Black Americans are dying. Literally.
I have spoken with a lot of folks over the last 10 days and I can say that I haven’t always agreed with people. Some folks feel me so much that we sit together in frustration. I have weeped, my friends have cried. This shit has just got real for mainstream America. But this shit has been real for Black Americans since they came over shackled head to toe on a slave ship. Because we’ve been killing Black Americans since they stepped foot onto this country we call the USA. Before we even became the USA.
I have enjoyed talking with others and I hope they have enjoyed talking with me. I know that these conversations can be difficult, but know that they are beneficial to all of us. The most important thing to remember is to discuss the issues with people, ask questions, and be kind. We may get angry, but we can’t get personal. We can tell stories and we can give anecdotes, but if we attack each other individually we are never going to get anywhere. Remembering our common humanity when having these discussions is imperative.
This all being said, I will continue to rage and I hope you will rage with me. If you are looking for some resources to understand people’s perspective please see below.
The Root: http://www.theroot.com/
The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/
Urban Cusp: http://www.urbancusp.com/
The Grio: http://thegrio.com/
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America by Tanner Colby
W.E.B. Du Bois: http://www.webdubois.org/
James Baldwin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Baldwin
Tim Wise: http://www.timwise.org/
Ta-Nehisi Coates: http://www.theatlantic.com/ta-nehisi-coates/
Melissa Harris-Perry: http://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-perry
W.Kamau Bell: http://www.wkamaubell.com/