After the decision was made last night, social media was almost unbearable. It was literally saddening to see the things that I saw on my timelines and news feeds. So I refrained from saying what I wanted to say… Until Now.
Before I begin on my thoughts about the actual decision with the Mike Brown case, I’m going to start with something much broader- “Us” as a whole. And yes, I use those quotations for a reason. We have to do better. Period. I think the biggest thing that makes me mad today is how we can do things to each other as black people, and get so upset when another race or group does it to us. Example, the word “Nigga.” And I’ll admit, I’m just as guilty as anyone else of this. We use the same term that was, and still is, meant to degrade us as a term of endearment. Do you hear white people referring to themselves as “Crackers”? I know I don’t. This is the root of the issue.
Almost everyday, I tell Alex (the love of my life, my sugar butt, my baby, etc. etc.) to “pull his pants up” or “don’t curse so loudly” or something else that I feel will make him be seen badly by others. Because he is a “large, black man,” I know how he is looked at by people around us, especially since we go to a predominantly white institute. Anybody who knows him, knows he literally will not hurt a fly, yet I’m still barking for him not to do this and not to do that. I know who he is, but unfortunately we are very easily stereotyped, as many groups are. Many times we are not looked as individual people, but as a whole and categorized with every other black person. And we continue to further perpetuate this issue. We want to be respected, we want to be equal, we want to have our voices heard, but at the same time our voices are bellowing out harsh words, our equality is only demanded when we have been wronged, and we cannot respect ourselves any more than those who we are asking respect of.
I cannot count the number of conversations that one of my roommates and I have had about being black in a “white” world. With that being said, I’m not saying that the majority is racist or that we unfairly treated, but what I am saying is that ISSUES STILL EXIST, RACISM STILL EXISTS, AND WE CAN ALL DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT (which I’ll get to). Going to a PWI, I have been the only black girl in a classroom with only whites more times than I’m even willing to count. Personally, I do not find it to be uncomfortable, because I know that I am capable. I know that I can run with the best of them, actively engage in and out of the classroom, and my GPA is higher than probably all but a couple people in that room. So, no I don’t find it hard. But what I do find to be very uncomfortable is when I see those of my same color doing something that we already get criticized for, or when I hear a white person say that they believe black men to be scary and aggressive, or when a professor expects me to be the voice of all black people, or when I feel like I have no other choice but to be the voice for all black people because of ignorance in the room. That’s when I get uncomfortable, because I know we can do better, and I know that other racial groups can as well.
“A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect.”
So become the system. Sounds easy, but many don’t think it isn’t that simple. I think it is. Instead of encouraging our children to curse and sing the latest Bobby Shmurda lyrics, give them the tools that they need to become those lawyers, judges, police officers, etc. We are capable. But, here’s why it won’t happen -we’re addicted to things that suppress us. We are addicted to “turning up” and “Nigga this and that” and “Fuck bitches, get money” blah blah blah. Money makes the world go round, but I don’t think Dr. King’s motivation was attempting to “get the hoes.” I’m sure Ms. Parks didn’t get paid to sit on that bus. But we just want the new J’s and Marc Jacobs watches, and for our hair to be on “fleek.”
With that being said, I’m not saying that we need to sacrifice these things (if they make you happy, to each his own), but be more than that. Educate yourselves. Teach your children, siblings, parents, families about history. Find ways that you personally can help better society, and ultimately YOURSELF. And that’s for ALL races, not just a particular one. Try to be the best you that you can be.The root of evil is ignorance, so let’s not be ignorant. Encourage our friends to not make that one racist comment (even if they have “12 black friends” or “a Mexican cousin”). Challenge our own brains to not go directly to stereotypes that we tend to do.
Finally my feelings on the Mike Brown case…yes, absolutely this was wrong. Darren Wilson should most definitely have faced some consequence. I mean Adrian Peterson can’t continue his career for disciplining his child (another story for another day). The Mike Brown case was significantly larger than that, so for that officer to walk freely, there’s something wrong. So NOW WHAT? Let’s not be bitter, but pray without ceasing. Pray for our children to be able to live in a better place like our ancestors prayed for us to, pray that we can help others and ourselves to get rid of ignorance, pray that our children have the tools to BE the “system.” Pray that as a whole, we do better.
Educate. Encourage. Sympathize. Uplift. Inspire. Care. Love.