The situation going on in Ferguson, MO, after the shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown, a Black kid who was unarmed, walking down the street with his friend, minding his own business, has gotten pretty volatile, with cops running around in full riot gear, occupying the town. A peaceful vigil and protest turned into rioting and looting and guess what - I fully understand why! Now before you haters start saying that I condone this, hear me - I don't. I am a peace and justice activist after the style of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , so I'm not into violence and don't want it around me. Still, I fully understand the level of frustration and anger that would lead someone, even a community, down that path.
It's hell being Black these days. Hell, it was hell being Black in this country from the beginning, but at least then, you knew you had no rights. Now, what makes it so bad is that we live under the illusion that we have rights, but what good is it when you are universally hated? Rights don't mean a damn thing when you can die at the hand of some anonymous White guy or White cop simply for the crime of Living While Black - and you know that they will get away with it! Equality isn't equality when you are profiled because you're Black, when the media willfully misrepresents you because you're Black, painting you as stupid, lazy criminals, good for nothing but death.
Oh, but I'm not supposed to get angry about this, because if I do, then, I'm feeling sorry for myself. I'm not supposed to get mad that the media will splash across the headlines, every crime some Black person does, or every stupid thing some famous Black person does, yet won't say a peep about Black scientists, Black child prodigies, Black geniuses, Black teenagers doing good in school and doing positive thing in and for their communities, Black heroes, Black doctors, Black inventors, or anything good that Black people do. If its printed at all, it's downplayed because the media benefits from vilifying, demonizing, objectifying, devaluing and outright lying about Black folks. Our lives ain't worth a damn!
The reality of Black life is that you have to be 100 times better than anyone else to get the tiniest bit of respect. In college, I busted my butt to be better, academically, than my classmates because you know, Black folks are dumb; we all got in through affirmative action, right? WRONG! Even when we are pristine good, totally innocent, if something bad happens to us, we deserve it, because by being Black, we've already committed a crime.
White racists and Tea Party folks whine about wanting their country back. I'm no fool - I know that's code for wanting Black folks gone or at least, back on the plantation. It's bad enough that the systemic racism in place means that if we're not careful enough, don't work hard enough, not lucky enough, not smart enough or not mentally strong enough, we'll wind up where they want us - in prison or the grave.
We Black folks need to wake up and understand that the notion of equality is a farce, an illusion. We need to understand that though we were born here and love this country and are loyal to this country and will die for this country, that it is NOT ours! If the last few years of cops and others killing us with impunity and getting away with it hasn't shown us anything, nothing will.
How much more of this can we take before a violent revolution happens? I don't know, but I do know this: revolution is at our doorstep - it may only take one more killing of an unarmed Black person by cops before all hell breaks loose. Do I want a revolution? Not if it's violent because violence, ultimately, is NOT the answer.
Unfortunately, I understand from whence this boiling anger comes. I'm going through it right now, knowing that I'm judged and suspect because I'm Black and knowing that this country that I love so much isn't mine and never will be. I can only do what I know best - continue to promote peace and nonviolence and be the best person that I can be.