gratitude-a-thon day 481: i’m not black

I’m not black. I’m white, the lucky color. The color that opens doors, and doesn’t get suspicious looks walking down the street. I’m the color of the American dream, no questions asked. I’m white, which implies if I add red and blue, you’ll think I’m good, and treat me like a law abiding American, even if I’m breaking the law. I’m white, and all that goes with being born a shade that always gets the benefit of the doubt.

And while there are a million reasons being black is cool, like being cool, for instance, the rich traditions, the history of struggle, the music, writing, dance, food, family, beauty, athletic power, the booty for God’s sakes, being black is dangerous. It could get you killed, in fact.  It happened again yesterday, when the police officer who killed Eric Garner was not indicted by a Grand Jury. Yes, I said killed, because this was no accident. He was killed. By a police officer who used a chokehold, and ignored the words that Eric Garner said numerous times: “I can’t breathe.”

Last time I checked, the words, “I can’t breathe” mean that you are unable to breathe. Let’s go a step further, and make sure we’re all on the same page, shall we? You need to breathe to be able to live. So, just to wrap up here, if you can’t breathe, you are probably going to die.

Houston (and every other city and town in this country), we gotta problem. A big problem. And it’s called racism. If you weren’t convinced by the Michael Brown case, where only nine days ago another police officer was not indicted by a Grand Jury for killing Michael Brown, then perhaps you are by Mr. Garner’s case.

I love and support police officers. They choose to put their lives in the balance everyday just doing their jobs, keeping me safe, but I take issue with this loss of life, this video of a man being held down by several officers, in a chokehold, while he says those words, “I can’t breathe” and dies on the sidewalk at 42 year old, with six children at home,  for selling loose cigarettes.

As Jeffrey Toobin said last night on CNN, “What DO YOU  have to do to be indicted as a police officer?”

But back to me, I’m not black. So, like, I ‘m not going to have to worry about it. Because I’m white. I’m the lucky color.

 

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 473: grateful there wasn’t more violence, but that’s about all

nelson-mandela-quotes-about-racism

I wanted to write a light and airy post today. I wanted to talk more about gratitude, when so many people have their minds on it, as they bake pies and consider the pilgrims and Plymouth Rock and those silly hats with the buckles. Thought I might take this moment to engage someone to consider getting into the habit of gratituding. You know, strike while the turkey, I mean iron is hot, kind of thing.

But I can’t think of anything, but Michael Brown’s family this morning, who has not only lost their child, but has also been smacked in the face by a Grand Jury who appears to have been watching Wheel of Fortune instead of listening to the case. How else could they have reached the conclusion not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown? 

Indicting Wilson would have meant a public trial. If indeed the Grand Jury was correct in their assessment of this case, would it not have been better to have played this thing out in public? This thing, which has made lucidly clear the fact that although we have an African American president, this country is still riddled with racists.

Ferguson erupted in violence last night. Under a banner that said “Season’s Greetings,” the police marched in a line down the street throwing tear gas into the crowds of people who were feeling angry and  powerless. I am not a violent girl, but I had rage last night. I wanted to go out on Elm Street and protest. I just knew my voice wouldn’t be heard. And you know what? I’m guessing that’s what every one of the citizens who were being gassed in Ferguson felt like last night, like their voices weren’t being heard either. Take away power and you take away dignity.

What are we doing?

I haven’t got any answers. But I think we just all need to be clear about one thing. And that is that if you think racism is no longer a thing in America, you are 100% wrong. It’s still alive and kicking. It’s still one of the issues of our time. It’s still killing us.

Here’s what Michael Brown’s family had to say in response to the announcement:

“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.

While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.

Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.

We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.

Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference.”

“Let’s not make noise, let’s make a difference.” Yes. Let’s try and do that. In the name of Michael Brown. Because would this have happened if Brown had been white? It’s a simple answer, and I’m pretty sure it’s no.