In times like this I am reminded of an old Chris Rock Joke. Rock once said “If you're black, you got to look at America a little bit different. You got to look at America like the uncle who paid for you to go to college, but who molested you.” Days like today and last week that point is only magnified in my eyes. It seems that day after day you hear the tale of someone who was not lucky enough to survive a run in with police. It makes me sit back and reflect on all the times that I have had a run in and how I could have been that person who was being slandered in the press and reasons for my death justified.
After the decision in Ferguson I was told by many, "you're not a lawyer, he was guilty." These people totally missed the point. I didn't know Mike Brown. What I did know was that he was an unarmed man who at worst stole a packet of cigarillos. Which means yes, he should have been arrested. But not executed in the street and left in the hot sun for hours like an animal, seemingly sending a message to a community that this is what happens when you defy us. I'm not here to argue innocence or guilt, what people wanted was a trial. That's all. Because the witnesses weren't the only people with inconsistent accounts that alone should be enough to warrant a trial. And if you focus on riots please miss me with that talk. Not condoning the actions but if one is going to riot, an unarmed kid is shot and left in the street is something to riot over, not running out of pumpkins.
"But Brian, if you just followed the law then none of this would happen!" Really? What about John Crawford III who was just holding a toy gun in an open carry state yet he was gunned down. Or what about Akai Gurley who commited the egregious crime of walking down the stairs. Or what about 12 year old Tamir Rice who was shot for having an airsoft gun 2 seconds after arriving on the scene? I've read more about his personal life as a victim than the cop who gunned him down. I even read that the video had a "suicide by cop" feel to it. A 12 year old. He's the one on trial. Not the person who shot him and then lied immediately about the circumstances surrounded the incident.
I'm told all the time about the scourge of black on black crime despite the fact that talking point is bullshit. I'm told pull your pants up and show some respect for yourself and your community. I've done all these all these things and more. That hasn't saved me from police harassment. In my time in Chicago I've had guns pulled on me numerous times. Who did it? Was it those black people who hate smart black people like Charles Barkley said? Nah. It was the police. Well clearly I must have been doing something you may ask. Well here's what I was doing each time in order, walking from a party, walking from school, walking from the gym, and going on a run. Suspicious shit I know. And something tells me that if you ask a black person you know (because black women are just as victimized if not more) they can tell you similar stories. In fact our story is not uncommon.
So yes, I will get emotional about topics such as this injustice. I don't need condescending comments about how I need to hear both sides, and what I as a black person can do to make sure this doesn't happen to me. How about we have a discussion on how we can stop this kind of thing. It doesn't matter how rich you are, it has been deemed by the legal system that my presence and existence is threat enough.
As much as you people love to quote Martin Luther King, Jr at me when I bring all these points up, they seem to gloss over the fact that for as non violent as he was and how he was the embodiment of who you feel black people should be, he still got shot in the face for his efforts.