I, like a lot of people have decided to keep my opinions on the tragedy that took place in Ferguson, MO where young #MikeBrown lost his life, somewhat mute, until the piercing feeling of outrage was felt.
Yup, folks I’m there, I am currently in sate of outrage directed toward quite a few sources. First, the media, for its disgusting portrayal of the true story line, the facts associated with the case, and the lack of any positive light being shed over any area of the issue. Second, the authorities of Missouri for mishandling the case from the start and the inability to maintain order, while appropriately protecting and serving its citizens. Third, #newblack people acting brand new to racism and directly blaming their fellow Black people for the way the tragedy unfolded. And lastly my people for allowing “The Man” to set us up for so long.
The media. As much love and respect that I have for the media and mass communications community, the lost of integrity and half truths being delivered to the masses is alarming. It absolutely disgusts me to watch Fox news and any of it’s sister stations, but to see CNN and MSNBC take similar stories and platform guests and allow them to spew bias and lies, no Sir. Fox News, since when does identifying a person as to having marijuana in their system during an autopsy investigation news worthy? When you are a unarmed Black male, being killed by a white police officer any piece of negativity is assumed evidence to justify the killing, right? As much as I hate to make this statement, I admit I have turned to social networks to stay updated and informed about the events that are transpiring in the #MikeBrown case. Fuck the news. The way this particular event is being played out on the major news outlets baffles me. Like where is the regulation, the validation, and the justification for some of the news stories and discussion panels that are being aired, any one?
The media is only showing what they want the people to see. Nothing new. We only see short snippets of the peaceful rallies and non-violent demonstrations that are taking place across the nation. You don’t get to see the huge number of supporters that turn out each day to protest peacefully. But you do see the small percentage of outrage protesters that are feed up beyond belief and display their frustration in the typical nigger essence. Become violent. You do see large numbers of people of all races being arrested daily, but the media does not show them being released due to lack of reasons to hold them nor the police brutality. The media will allow you to see some of the very crafty, witty and dead on signs created by protesters. But that is only to bring more spotlight and viewer ratings to their station to further discuss their agenda. To ensure they have an audience to scrutinize and pick out everything wrong with that picture.
The authorities. Did the law officials and enforcement of Ferguson, MO, really think they could just brush this tragedy under the rug without any form of repercussion, back-lash, or reverberation from the community? An unarmed, young, Black, male being shot multiple times in broad daylight, in the middle of his neighborhood, by a white male police officer as he surrendered, and you thought no one would say anything about it?
I truly think this is what the authorities expected. My theory is evident by the slow reaction by authorities addressing the public. The delay of pertinent information and case details being communicated to the people. This delay actually was the fuel to the communities outrageous fire. Once the citizens of the community noticed that they were out numbered and unheard, they took it upon themselves to up the ante. Only then did the police and authority of Ferguson begin to take action. Almost, anytime you take action after a reaction, 99.9% of the time it’s too late. And you see how this story plays out. Military tanks, strong arm tactics, tear gas, violations of amendment rights, unfair control tactics, all because the authorities were a little tardy to the party.
Only after, what, day 8 of protest and a city on the edge, did the authorities of Ferguson began to answer some of the communities concerns. The ah-ha moment, when authorities actually realized the citizens had something to say, after they have been deprived of that simple freedom. Only, after 2 nights straight of violence and unethical control tactics by enforcement and the community, did some sort of “we hear you citizens,” occur.
Highway patrol Captain Ronald Johnson issues a statement.
“And beyond the investigation itself, we will work with the police, civil rights leaders, and members of the public to ensure that this tragedy can give rise to new understanding- and robust action-aimed at bridging persistent gaps between law enforcement officials and the communities we serve.”
Again, too little to late.
#NewBlack. The twitterverse has recently introduced me to the term #NewBlack. This term is used to describe famous or affluent Black people who are so privileged that they may not experience the same strife and injustice as us regular Black folk encounter. Sometimes they side with opponents believing that racism no longer exists. They are so far out of touch with other Black folks that they point the finger at Black folks and say we are the cause for such injustice and racism.
Pharrell a leader of the #NewBlack stated recently in an interview with Oprah;
“The New Black doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The New Black dreams and realizes that it’s not pigmentation: it’s a mentality and it’s either going to work for you or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re going to be on.”
Really Pharrell, so all the racial injustice, police brutality, and profiling that a Black person experiences is in our mentality and not the pigmentation? Do non Blacks know this, because they are usually the ones that make our mentality a reality.
One #NewBlack went on a rant stating that if Black people would got out and voted more, than none of the injustice and so called racism that is being experienced would exist. I can agree to a certain extent that our people do not make up half as much of the voting community as non Blacks. But I don’t think the reason Black people don’t vote is because we are too lazy to go to the polls. I feel there are a number of reasons; 1. Voting hours, most polling places and hours are out of the convenience of struggling families working around the clock to merely survive, 2. Some people rather make no decisions rather a uninformed decision. Some of these same people do not have time to do the research on a particular person running for office. So instead of blindly picking a person they have no information on, they would rather not partake in the voting process at all. I don’t agree with this decision , but it is a decision that a lot of minority families make every time during election time. 3. Voting laws change all the time, If a voter gets turned away from one election, the likelihood of them returning to try again is slim to none.
But is lack of voting the true reason? As if a new law created from the government gods that would make any offense based on race to be an illegal offense punishable to the highest of courts, that would end racism? Really? No mandate can change the way a person thinks, the beliefs that a person was instilled since birth, a way a person is taught from generation to generation.
The sad truth is that white people have been formulated to believe that all non white people are a threat to them, so therefore their lives are less valuable. And the fact that the darker your skin tones create a higher sense of threat with a lower value of life. This is our truth.
White people know this as well as non white people, so it angers me to hear #newblack people say that we have overcome racism and discrimination ourselves before anyone else can. WTF?? We see it everyday how white people value just about everything else over a Black person’s life. Think about it, any crime against a dog, would receive a more severe punishment than taking the life of a minority. This white cop took the life an an unarmed Black male and the authorities have to review the case to see if charges will be brought against him, smh. George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed Trayvon Martin even when authorities told him to stand down, he was acquitted of all charges. I could go on and on about different situations where you have to question is my Black life worth the same as yours?
But why when were all created equal, under God?
Another #NewBlack person stated that protests and social media causes do not work. Of course, this statement came from a very influential Black person that could easily reach out to the heads of major corporation, and to some powerful politicians and congressmen, to actually get things done. But for me and other people like the protesters across the nation, don’t have the privy of having such well connections. This all we got! Yeah, the acting of protesting is out dated, but what are we left to do? How else could we bring national attention to a small-town demonstration of people uniting for justice? This is all we got. And it worked.
If it had not been for the many #MikeBrown, #Ferguson, #Dontshoot,#WeMatterToo, #Justice, then how else could a vast number of people unite to discuss what going on, and to vent, and to share some of the same injustices on the other side of the globe. Trust me it’s been working. People have been flooding social media with the various hashtags combined with personal experiences to get people to notice, something has to change. Writing a single letter to my congressman would not get the job done. It took the masses to make a voice for people to take notice. Hell, it took 3 days after #MikeBrown’s death before President Obama, was even briefed on the tragedy. So what are the people left to do? Use the same approach as our forefathers used, protest to make a point. This all we got.
I, as a young Black woman, can definitely relate to the visibility and reality of racism, still to this day, almost on a daily basis. I have non Black co-workers that make comments and stereotype jokes, often without recognizing the bias and disrespect of their words. In the grocery store little old white women still use the term girl when asking for my help to reach something on a high shelf due to my height.
I can recall once at grocery store in a particularly upscale area in Houston (I don’t live there, just shop there), a young Hispanic guy was ringing up my items. When he was done scanning everything he automatically hit the EBT/Lone Star button as the form of payment, without asking first. I nor have I every been a recipient of government provided food benefits, I’ve defiantly tried to apply, so no shade. But for the cashier to racial profile me, judge my groceries, and due to it being near the first of the month, he assumed I would be using a Lone Star card as my form of payment. This really bothered me, I’m sure he didn’t intend to display poor judgement and racial profile to his customers, but that’s exactly what he did.
Another time, I was in, Rocky Mountain, SC. I was working a promotion at a car dealership where they were giving away free turkey’s to all customers that came in and took a survey with me. The line was wrapped around the building. This one older white guy, dirty overalls, missing quite a few teeth, was my next interviewee. The first thing that came out his raggedy mouth was, “Oh my, you look a whole lot lighter (skin tone) from the back of the line girl, and prettier too. Now give me my free turkey, girlie.”
Now my racism stories do not hold a candle to the stories that I hear daily, that Black men experience. I truly do share your pain. So I find it very difficult to understand when people say racism no longer exists. Yes, it does. People just have been experiencing racism for way too long, we kind of became immune to it. And racist people have displayed their blatant racism for far too long, it apart of their lifestyle, their thought process. No way to change that.
And lastly, my people. My people we have got to better. We have to better prepare ourselves mentally and physically to take on this harsh, unfair, unapologetic world that we live in. I do agree that all minority parents have to have the talk with their minority children to get them to understand the rules of the game.To equip them with the tools and weapons necessary to fight the daily fight of survival.
The first step is education. No matter your economic status, your age, your location, we have to read more. We, my people, have to read. There is no excuse, no short cut, no lack of resources that should prevent you from picking up a book to learn more, anything. You may not have access to the best books or the best education systems, but do not allow that to be a crutch. I’ve learned that any form of reading can create an increased curiosity to pursue more knowledge. Once you uncover one truth, you being to dig deeper and find yourself deep in a whole new wealth of knowledge, to a sense, that creates a whole new perspective on life.
The next step is to accept reality. I am Black female. Your are a Black male. We are minorities. Once we accept the fact that we are born into an un-level playing field, you can better prepare yourself for the obstacles that are sure to come. Don’t expect anything, but be grateful for everything. Don’t expect life to easy, and without a fight, but accept all life’s challenges with grace and dignity. Preparation is key.
A strong foundation is another key element. Anyone can build a foundation. The single mother raising her minority son’s on her own can build a strong foundation of love and support. She may not have the all the knowledge and the resources but a strong foundation does start with love. She can love the hell out of her sons which means, she will go out and find the right people to help her family, she would do all she can to keep her family together, and work very hard to ensure their survival. The young boys would see her effort and know that an important tool in survival is hard work and dedication. The boy will grow up knowing that any challenge or obstacle can be overcome or achieved through hard work and determination.
These are only my opinions, and penning this blog has help to alleviate some of my outrage and frustration that I have been experiencing. I do pray for #Justice in the tragedy of #MikeBrown. But I am a realist, and I know that Justice does not always fall in our favor. I pray that our community does become stronger, and our foundation becomes more solid as we have all been affected by this issue.
Stay strong my people, and live long. And What I Said It.