It’s easy to get angry at the world right now. Or at a structurally racist and classist society (and yes, we do live in one) where blacks can be killed with impunity by anyone except us in order to “keep us in line.” Or at black folks who will march and protest when an “outsider” pulls the trigger, but act like Kermit talking about “that’s none of my business” or “snitches get stitches” when we kill our own. It’s genocide both ways and one is no excuse for the other.
It’s easy to point fingers at skittish cops or at whites who fear or hate blacks or at biased prosecutors and a sometimes unjust system or at our long, long history of oppression and colonization or at the state of our communities or at parents who don’t do enough to raise their children or at mayors who don’t invest in the children who need it the most or at clergy who can’t make the pain go away or at biased media coverage or at the “music” that gets air play and feeds on young minds or at Don Lemon for being a lemonhead or at Don Imus cuz’ I remember that nappy-headed hoes comment or at Guliani for being the Stop & Frisk clown he’s always been (and for people being shocked about his recent comments) or at President Obama who won’t wield his magic wand or at how many of us have drank the Kool-Aid, stains still left on our gullible mouths or at allies who stand quiet in these moments or at nut jobs who come out of the shadows and say how they really feel about “us” as if we didn’t know. History tells us this. And repeat. Hit rewind and repeat. It won’t change unless we all do.
It’d be easy to wild out on social media, on my blog or at the television – cussing, ranting, accusatory, and in pain. It’d be easy to go back to my job and get into arguments with folks who don’t see the privileges that exist and want to make everything logical with color, class and historical inequities magically erased from the equation. It’d be easy to retreat from those who don’t understand where I’m coming from and why “those” people are so furious. It’d be easy to delete. Block. Unfollow. Stop reading the comments under the article. Turn off the tube forever. But I won’t because that’s too simple and it won’t solve any of these problems. The issues that bring us to this precipice are complicated. Inextricably linked. Nuanced. Painful. Hard.
And my mama and daddy taught me when things get tough, to dig in. As Phife Dog said, “I ain’t a bully or a punk,” so I have to move closer to “solve” this. I have to move closer to listen more. I have to move closer to see more. I have to move closer to communicate better. It’s why I can’t do Facebook debates when shit gets real. I need connection. I need to remember that the person on the “other side” is human and not just a receptacle for my vitriol, fury and frustration. I have to move closer to retain my integrity. I have to move closer to remember that even in our ugliest moments, we are reflections of each other, so all those fingers that I point somehow lead back to me. Back to us.
My beloved Zaba told me to look in the mirror because then I’d be looking at the problem. That’s hard to do. But that’s exactly what needs to be done. When we absolve or recuse ourselves from the situation, we give a silent pass for us to pass the buck and lay blame on someone else’s doorstep. For someone else to clean up. Nope. Too easy. We are in this shit together and together, we will get out of it. There will be many suggestions and actions (like the uprisings in Ferguson) on how to solve the issues and we won’t always agree. And since there were many, many issues that got us all into this mess, I guess that’s about right that we’ll need varied solutions to get out of it. We’ll need to argue. To think tank. To cry. To commit. To break. To build. To unite. To scream. But always, always moving forward.
Yup. I have to move closer to do more. Be more. Hug more. Challenge more. Pray more. Believe more. Work more. Listen more than I talk. Educate more. Forgive more. Love more. Love me enough to love you. And so I shall.
Rest in peace and power to Mike Brown, Tony McCoy, Antonio Smith, Hadiya Pendleton, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Tamir Rice and all of the black men and women who have been murdered since we arrived in this country by violent force and who continue to be seen as 3/5ths – not only by perceived oppressors but by our own hands and hearts. It runs deep. I hope we can all unite, across superficial boundaries, and stand in pride and power. It will take all. Dead Prez said it’s bigger than hip-hop. It’s also bigger than black and white. Know that I see you, see it. The bigger picture. I love you. I value you. You are me. And we are all in this crazy shit together. Let’s build something sustainable and beautiful.
Got my shovel, Tina