I’ll be straightforward with you all; I don’t usually watch the news. I’ve tried to get better about reading about what’s going on in the world via the blogs I follow, though, and that is what has led me to hear this story so quickly. I knew I didn’t want to click the link to watch the video. I knew even more strongly, however, that I needed to see this. That it wouldn’t be real if I didn’t watch it.
I’m sitting in front of this brand new shiny Mac in one of the many computer clusters in the student center at Princeton University typing this, taking pauses to lift my fingers from the keyboard to wipe the tears from my face. This is supposed to be the kind of stuff I hear my elders talk about, the kind of stuff I see in movies about the past and read about in scholarly works and shake my head at and say, “Look how far we’ve come.” This is not supposed to have happened a month and a half ago. When did America get so sick again? Maybe we never got better. Maybe stories like this never stopped happening and we just stopped hearing about them.
Say the word “post-racial”, I dare you. Look
me this man’s family in the eye and say it doesn’t matter.
My friend JJ and I were talking the other day about how she wants to live in Australia, and the first thing I asked her was, “Don’t they not like Black people there?” Her response was, “Maya, they don’t like Black people here.” I gave her one of my ain’t-that-the-truth chuckles. Last night, I was telling K how [sometimes it feels weird that] “the only flag I can rep is the US flag.” This is my country? This is my home? The land of the free? Home of the brave? Where we hold the idea that all men are created equal to be self-evident? Where LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS are GUARANTEED?
Because that seems a little at odds with the America I see. I see the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and the middle class disappearing altogether. I see the spoils going only to the spoiled. I see people who have never had to work a day in their lives demeaning, devaluing, and dehumanizing people who have never known a day of rest. I see police brutality running rampant. I see just as much segregation as my great-grandmother saw. I do not see justice. I do not see equality. I do not see anyone in any sort of power giving a damn about the people being systematically victimized. I don’t see our rights being protected, even those deemed basic and inalienable hundreds of years ago.
I don’t see how to get up out of this seat and continue to live my life like nothing’s wrong.