Since last week, I’ve really been struggling to process my emotions and thoughts, searching for words, in response to the non-indictment of the police officer in the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Usually I am the rational, patient, informed, and compassionate person, but I have been unable to even engage with people that don’t acknowledge the deeper structures* and root issues of oppression in this country. I am struggling to find the words to describe the affect on me of the horror of the fear-based ignorance and dehumanization that is occurring in this country (and across the world in general). I am struggling with not being able to speak, because my belief is “silence is complicity.” I attended a community meeting in DC last night to discuss reactions and strategies in response to the non-indictment, which left me feeling less desolate, but I am still processing.
The morning after the announcement of the grand jury decision, my heart broke thinking of conversations in homes across the country – I have no idea what parents could say to their black sons to comfort them in a world like this. I have no words.
It struck me, that this rage, and pain, and suffering that I feel, it’s only the tip of the iceberg of what other people and communities live and feel every.single.day. – since the time of slavery.
Some people just really don’t get it. I implore everyone to keep asking why, why, why. Keep asking, and digging to the root of situations and issues. Please stop looking at the superficial. The truth lies beneath the surface.
I don’t have anymore words right now.
*All of the links in this piece are to books that have moved me and that I recommend. Here is the list:
- “Sula” by Toni Morrison
- “Black Boy” by Richard Wright
- “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison
- “The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to his White Mother” by James McBride
- “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker
- “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
- “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou