Tag Archive | #Ferguson

I’d Rather Go Blind (or) . . . an Ode to James Baldwin

I have to start this blog by saying, I’ve never finished a James Baldwin novel.  I was SUPPOSED to in my Race in American Lit class in 11th grade . . .but youth. I have to also say, I’ve lived my live on the fringe of “Black Consciousness.” Meaning, I knew the world was fucked up.  I just chose to not let the fuckedupedness {yes, that is indeed a word} affect me.  Sadly, 2014 happened.  Actually, to be honest, 2008 happened . . . but we will get there.

I’ve stated on more than one occasion, I was raised strangely.  I had access to my history.  I knew my family’s history, and the history of my people.  Not because I went to the best schools {even though that helped} or because I was so well read {again, that did help}, but because my mother made sure I knew.  I didn’t know other people didn’t watch Eyes on the Prize on a yearly basis until college.

Best. Series. Ever.

Best. Series. Ever.

I’m not just talking about a casual glace, I mean we planned our WEEK around it showing on PBS.  Homework was done at school, so that i didn’t have to do it at home.  We sang all the protest songs while we were cooking dinner, and we sat down together to watch it.  I knew who the Little Rock Nine were before the Disney Movie came out.  I used to love Thurgood Marshall because he looked like my Great Uncle.

So it’s not that I didn’t know that racism and discrimination existed in the world.  I just didn’t have to deal with it.  I lived in Detroit, but I went to school in the suburbs.  All my friends were white.  If they weren’t white, they were something that wasn’t Black.  I’ve been the minority my whole life, even within my circle of friends.  Racism was a concept I understood, and had never really encountered until my then best friend’s father found out I was Black.

I'm referring to the white one . . .

I’m referring to the white one . . .

I’d been calling their house the entirety of Freshman Year. The minute the buddy pictures came back, the “secret” was revealed.  This man, whom I had spoken to at length whenever I had called their home, who always asked how I was doing and about my family, suddenly didn’t want his child to spend time with me.  He didn’t want her to drive to my home (even though I lived in the suburbs {better suburbs than them}), he told her not to interact with me at all.  Because I had tricked him! I didn’t “talk Black,” so how was he supposed to know I was invading his daughter’s life and setting such a bad example.  Her dad was an asshole, and he was racist, and he was born in a time when both of those were the norm.

United Colors of Benneton . . .

United Colors of Benetton . . .

Racism didn’t become real to me until affected my paycheck.  I blogged about it, feel free to check it out {here, and here,} Even still it wasn’t something that permeated.  They were #IsolatedIncidents. The world is a better place in the 21st century.  We elected a Black President for crying out loud.  People stood in a voting booth, and said we put our faith in that proud and self-identifiying Black Man, with his Beautiful Black Wife and Children.  The world has changed for the better! Or so we thought . . .

This was my morning board in my classroom for a WEEK!

This was my morning board in my classroom for a WEEK!

What we didn’t know, while we were shouting in the streets, and hugging each other with pride and glee . . . was some folks was MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD! WHEW, they was so mad! About life, and everything that was in it. And every time he made a difference, made a change, and potentially helped someone less fortunate than them . . . the anger built. And Bulit. AND BUILT. And for me, being able to ignore the undercurrents of racism was getting harder and harder.  Those names started adding up, and my memories of Eyes on the Prize starting connecting those dots.  From Rodney King, to Malice Green, to Sean Bell, to Oscar Grant, to Trayvon Martin.

Thank God for Black Twitter . . .

Thank God for Black Twitter . . .

Social Media ruined my life! Because I wasn’t just getting my news from CNN anymore.  I had minute my minute updates on things going on all over the country.  Every new name on the list had a hastag, and a story behind that wasn’t being censored by the media.  Suddenly, I had to acknowledge that my bubble had been popped, stepped on, and destroyed.  The anger started to build. And Build. AND BUILD. Why are they killing young children? Why are people so angry? Why do they hate us so much? Why do they work SO HARD to make sure we stay down? Why is no one paying attention?!?! Why does Don Lemon exist on Television?

I . . . loathe . . . you

I . . . loathe . . . you

Why are Black Men Thugs and White Men “troubled” and “mentally unstable?” Why are Black children a threat? Why is CNN reporting a Riot, when Black Twitter is live streaming police being the aggressors? Why are the only pictures of Mike Brown him looking like a “gangsta?” Why does the Republican run government shoot down anything the President attempts to to to a vote? Why is everyone on Fox News an Asshole? Why do I only trust Chris Hayes, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Rachel Maddow?

He Follows ever member of Black Twitter . . .

He Follows ever member of Black Twitter . . .

Why am I TERRIFIED every time I’m pulled over by a police officer? Why do I have to have conversations with all my clients about the dangers of expressing your opinions when dealing with certain kinds of people? Why do I fear for all of the children I work with who were raised in Happy Tucson, and don’t know who the rest of the world sees them? Why did I lose friends because of my reaction to Ferguson? Why was Ferguson the scariest thing I’d ever experienced as an American . . . not September 11th?

2014

2014

I can’t un-see those videos of Black Men AND WOMEN being abused by the people we pay to protect us.  I can’t un-know that 2015 is more like 1964.  I can’t un-experience someone walking in a church and shooting 9 people, because of the color of their skin.  I can’t un-cry those tears of frustration when conversing with people about my pain.

I’d Rather Go Blind.  I’d Rather be Deaf.  I’d Rather be Dumb.

I’m Afraid. I’m Angry.  I’m Hurt.

There is no time to heal. There is no time to recover from seeing Michael Brown’s body in the middle of a street.  There is no way to unwatch John Crawford III getting shot down for HOLDING a gun while talking on the phone. I can’t BREATHE! I can’t catch my breath, because it’s happening everyday.  Twice a day. The list continues to grow.

blackfaces

To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”

– James Baldwin

This. Is. America.  This is being Black in America. This is Depressing as All the Hells.

This Is My Experience.  

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Thank You For Reading.

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The Revolution will be Live Tweeted

Posted on my Facebook TL by me Re: The Tony Stewart Fatal Car Accident –
I bet they will publicize this more than  what’s taking place in Ferguson right now.

This is the beginning of a new phase in my life.  The part of my life in which, I can no longer be your “Safe Black Friend.” I’ve decided to instead be the friend who forces you to see how Race and racism is a daily occurrence in MY life. It must be stated before this potentially long blog, that I really did think I was white until I was about 7.

Not, I wanted to be white.  I thought I was white.  I thought I looked like all the dolls my father purchased for me, and the friends I had at the private school I attended.  I never looked in the mirror, not because I was afraid of what I would see, but because I truly believed I was a reflection of my peers.  My mother’s hairdresser’s children quite roughly set me on the right path. This was also around the time a friends mom wouldn’t let me sleep over because, “I’m not sure she knows how to act. You never know with her kind.” I thought she meant girls.

Race doesn’t matter to me. All of our poop is brown, so who cares.  Racism on the other hand, matters a great deal. My upbringing made me this way.  When other people were watching Roseanne and Martin, I was watching Eyes on the Prize on PBS. That’s the kind of Mom I have.  She wanted me to be informed of my history, so I knew the kind of world I was facing before she sent me out in it to fend for myself as an adult. My mother truly believes Knowledge is Power, and it was her goal to give me as much Power as she could.

News or Media: Are they the same?

Michael Brown, Jr was killed around noon on August 9th, 2014.  I didn’t see any mention of Ferguson on any major news network until Tuesday Night.  It didn’t show up on my Facebook TL until Thursday – in posts other than those belonging to myself and my Soror Amber.  It was on my Twitter TL Saturday afternoon. I was already following @nettaaaaaaaa, because she is hilarious. She is in STL, had heard of the unrest and went to investigate.

The beauty of Twitter is that you can connect with anyone in just one tweet.  #BlackTwitter proved it’s complete and utter worth in less than 24 hours.  Minute to minute updates, with pictures and video about what was happening.  Every night, I logged on to Twitter, and found out EXACTLY how it was happening. Just as they did with #JusticeForTrayvon, they made #Ferguson and #MikeBrown trending topics in major cities.  Ferguson residents DEMANDED justice.  They took to the streets, and marched for what they wanted.

They also demanded someone know the police were basically occupying their streets, seemingly to stop them from exercising their right to protest. They tweeted to @CNN and all the local news stations.  They tweeted @HuffingtonPost and @NYTimes and demanded they cover what was happening.  I’ve always heard people say news stations report what they want you to see.  Never before had I seen it In Living Color.

When a protester was shoved onto the ground by an angry police officer, CNN was reporting the crowd was becoming more aggressive.  But @ElonJames and @Vandalyzm were posting video of the incident to refute what was being reported.  If, in the example of the now Iconic picture below, a resident was throwing a Tear Gas Can, MSNBC was reporting that the protestors were retaliating angrily.  In real life, he posted on his TL he was protecting the children who were in the crowd with him.

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Operation Help or Hush

{For Clarification Purposes: You don’t have to be Black to be a member of #BlackTwitter.}

#BlackTwitter is a place people come together to talk, a lot, about the problems of the world, mainly superficially.  We  all complain and post about the societal topic of the day, then we usually move to less trying and often petty conversation.    But everyone should be afraid, because those of us who belong to this literal World Wide Web of people, have started to understand the power #BlackTwitter holds. In having so many residents of the greater STL area posting about the murder of #MikeBrown, and the subsequent protests, it was too in our face.  We saw people reaching out for help on an hourly basis.

The Beautiful @SheSeauxSaditty was tired of talking.  She decided to do.  She decided to ask for donations of money (and later the creation of an Amazon Wishlist) to help purchase supplies needed for protesters in Ferguson.  They raised more than $9100 in less than 18 hours, and then set out to provide bagged lunches, water bottles, gas masks, cooling towels, and a plethora of other essentials for the residents of Ferguson, and those who had come to march in solidarity.

Twitter did that.  Social media did that.  The pride from seeing that develop, even though I had no part in it (other than to donate) is immense.  Its like looking at the beginning of something that is going to eventually become a part of every struggle/movement/experience where people have a need.  Kudos to you, Nona.  I’m inspired to be better because of the impact I’ve seen you make in these last two weeks.

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#NMOS14

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention @FeministaJones and the creation of the National Moment of Silence.  She used her more than 34,000 followers to create one moment in time, when people all over the country – even the world – could come together and be seen, heard, and comforted.

Back in the day, it took weeks to execute what she did in less than a week.  Listing a city, and that you wanted to have a moment of silence was enough for people all around the country to coordinate and spread the message. Hundreds of thousands of people, standing together showing their solidarity for #Ferguson and all those men and women that Racism Killed.

Ignorance is Bliss

By Wednesday of last week (Aug 13,2014) I was exhausted. I spent ALL of my free time on Twitter, retweeting articles, and live accounts of what was going on. Posting links on my Facebook TL, which for some reason had been taken over by the ALS Ice Challenge.  Why was no one talking about this?!?! Where was the outrage?!?! No one at work was angry!  Half the time if I tried to bring it up in conversation , I first had to explain who #MikeBrown even was! How could this be happening in 2014.

My constant exposure, via Twitter and MSNBC {shoutout to Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow who are EVERYTHING}, gives me the distinct ability – nay, responsibility – to inform people of the truth! Yet, I’ve been batted down at every turn.  Told that they were fine getting their info from the local news and CNN. They didn’t need to read all the op-ed and think pieces, and to remember everything isn’t about race. Justice will prevail, and he shouldn’t have robbed the store in the first place, and if those people would just stop marching, this will all die down in another week.

 LOTS of people were unfriended this week, many more were unfollowed.  

If you want to live in a blissful and calm world, you have that right.  If you believe thousands of people tweeting about the same event, in real time, is somehow LESS reliable than Don Lemonn, go right ahead.  If you take everything at face value, and believe Propaganda isn’t actually a thing . . . I will acknowledge your right to make your own choices.

Of course, I can also acknowledge that you are stupid, and I don’t want your stupidity tainting my TL anymore.

A Black Man’s Existence 

{Due to my extreme lack of being about to figure out Storify, the link is below} 
Tuesday Night, I happened to come across the TL of a young Black Man roughly my age, ‘free tweeting’ about how #Ferguson is affecting him.  Something he said really struck me.
  1. Fifty years. Fifty years and we still have damn near the same problems. Didn’t seem like it a month ago. But I’m scared. I’m hurt.
    I donate clothes. I give food for the food banks. I even played SANTA CLAUS at my daughter’s school. Yet I’m hurting over Ferguson.
    I’m hurt because at 18, that could have been ME. Whether the cop was racist or scared, the fact remains that Mike Brown is dead.

The Revolution will be Live Tweeted

Change is created when several elements come together at just the right time.  Too many people are hurt.  Too many people are angry.  Too many people know families who have lost loved ones at the hands of Law Enforcement.  Too many people have cried, and yelled, and marched silently expecting results. Too many people have counted on the justice system for justice.  Too many mothers have been afraid for their children to leave the house.  Too many times of being Sick, and Tired, and Hurt, and Angry, and Confused.

 My mother said to me about Ferguson, “It used to be lynching.  They used to have picnics under the hanging bodies with their families.  It used to be a town event.” My response: The time for supplication and silence is over.  We, and yes I include myself in this declaration of my generation, are tired of being part of the problem.  We have decided to be the solution.  You can’t teach us to love everyone, and yet tell us that some people just don’t want to change.  What’s good for the goose is just as good for the Gander.

The ENTIRE world is watching these young adults and families and children march in the streets and demand justice.  The Whole World is looking at an entire county of Police Officers abuse their power.  The Whole World is watching #Ferguson.  Keep doing what you are doing.  Yell and March and Make Demands.  Fight for your rights to be treated fairly and as equals.  Continue to create the uncomfortable moments on TV when anchors HAVE to talk about race in this country.

{The} Election of Obama was supposed to usher in post-racial America, but evoked white backlash instead.    

– @dpgushee (Aug 20, 2014)