Let me begin by saying, I truly do not even know at which angle to start to address this. It is a given that we, none of us, truly know when we will utter our last word, lay eyes upon the ones we love for the last time or even, pen our last blog post. The truth is, this could be my last; as it could be your last reading it. Reality. For some (and given the state of the world we live in, they are the ‘lucky’ ones), doctors are getting better are being able to pinpoint an eventual departure date; however oftentimes my God steps in and makes a liar of their arrogance.
My point is simple – it is inevitable that there will be a day we all die. I used to believe in and say, “God decides when. How we live determines how”; but after what has recently happened in Ferguson… After what is becoming an epidemic in this country that I love (and the country of my birth that I also love), I am forced to re-think the latter part of my statement.
From everything I have heard and read, that 18 year old young man Michael Brown was quite simply executed by the police officer; without provocation. Naturally, the recounting of the incident has a different spin coming from the police department. Also naturally, our over-sensitived, enraged and rightfully fed-up selves reject that accounting outright. We are tired of burying our young black men and women; tired of grieving for them; and furious that more and more often, we are forced to set aside our grief, by having to fight for justice!
In all things I strive for fairness; I tend to, even in times of anger, pain or fear, look at the given situation with an open and logical mind, hoping to extrapolate fact from fiction. I do this because to do anything else will be to behave similarly to the very people and situations we are now protesting against. A rush to judgment is the reason why so many of our young are six feet under us. Having said that, I too am incensed by this loss and apparent murder! This sort of news is becoming too common-place!
Let’s address this: at the beginning of this piece I admitted to not know where to start; what to highlight; that remains the truth. But, let me admit this – I have been guilty of stereotyping – I have crossed the street at times when I see a man or a group of young black men walking in my direction that I think look “suspect”. I like to think that I am just being smart, cautious and cognizant of the fact that I am a woman, vulnerable in some ways and at those times, walking alone when it is late. All that IS true. But the rest of the truth is that a lot of my anxiety and hyper-awareness at those times come from the afore-mentioned “rush to judgment”. Can it have been the right decision I had made? Absolutely. Could I have been behaving completely unfairly to those young men? Definitely.
I mention that not in an attempt to excuse the taking of this young man’s like; never that. But, I highlight it to try to bring a smidge of awareness to the fact that in some ways maybe we all are guilty of profiling to some degree. Again, I am not excusing the police officer’s behavior; because the reality is that they are and should be held to a much higher standard that we – especially as they carry a gun and badge. But, I try to live my life heeding those words by MJ – I look at “the man in the mirror”; only looking outward absolving myself from all scrutiny and sense of responsibility makes me just as guilty.
I pray for the day we ALL stop the senseless persecution of each other.