I haven’t said anything about Mike Brown and Eric Garner because I’ve been too angry to talk about it. And a lot of other FtBers have said or linked to the needful things. I hope you’ve read them, and shared them.
There’s nothing for me to say that hasn’t been said by someone else, probably better, but staying silent isn’t an option. Especially not when so many of my fellow white people are just fine with two grand juries deciding not to indict cops who murder black men. You can get them to indict a ham sandwich, but not a pig who’s killed a person of color. And you can get white people to scream about injustice if they get treated impolitely by a traffic cop, but apparently summary execution for the crime of existing while black is fine by them. They’re happy to dig up any petty excuse to justify murder, then. Dude was big and scary. He broke a minor law once. He shouldn’t have resisted the officer who was intent on killing him.
And I don’t have the precise words to capture the loathing I feel for the smug little shitstains who piously claim they’re not racist while cheering on the murder of black folk, or spout the ten thousand racist excuses that make them feel it’s an unfortunate necessity.
I wish I had the power to transfer all of the parent’s grief into their skulls. I wish I could make them experience a lifetime of systemic racism, make them go through the experience of having to coach their kids on how not to get shot by the police, have them live in fear every day that this will be the day their phone rings with the news that the police have decided to execute their son. I don’t often wish unbearable suffering on people these days, but if I had the power, I’d make the apologists endure it. It may be the only thing that will shake them out of their complacency. It may be the only way to open the eyes of the willfully blind. Force them to walk all those miles in all those shoes, condense a lifetime into a day, let them feel what it’s like to know that their child got shot down like an animal, and no one gives a shit, because black lives don’t matter to the people with power. I think that if they felt their child ripped away from them, and then watched the justice system let their child’s murderer go free without even the fig leaf of a trial, I think if they had to bear the burden of that unfathomable injustice for just a day, they would collapse under it.
And then, possibly, this might change.
If you’re one of those white folk who’ve been turning away, clucking their tongues, excusing the way black people are gunned down for offenses that wouldn’t even get a white person a stern talking to, even finding excuses for cops murdering black people who are doing nothing wrong at all, stop. Pause a moment, and search what semblance of a conscience you’ve got, and ask yourself if you’d be this willing to look the other way if it was white suburban kids getting executed on the streets without a word, much less a trial, for doing things like jaywalking or selling untaxed cigarettes. Really think about that, because you know the answer’s no. You’re just not going to be willing to admit it at first.
Search yourself for that shred of decency necessary for maintaining a civilized society. Realize that we can’t let cop after cop get away with murder, and call ourselves good.
And then add your voice to the others crying for justice.