Saw Something. Saying Something.

So, I’m all kindsa confused.

On my commute home yesterday, headphones in, music on and minding my business, at the Bowling Green stop five young black men got onto the train in my car. The fact that they were black obviously was not what caught (and held) my attention. It was the amount of disruption they immediately caused to the car of already weary folks.

They were loud. Obnoxiously so. And invasive. Sprawling all over the seats and aisle (with the one sitting next to me funky as all hell; the only thing stinking more than his odor was his mouth). Another was on a hover board (never mind the fact they’re banned from the subways). So as they made their presence felt in the most tiresome and unpleasant ways possible – throwing each other around, cursing and disrespectful of anyone else’s space – a Caucasian man who was standing at the doorway when they came in, moved to another doorway. As he did so, the one who was closest to him called out to him and sarcastically asked, “Yo, you alright?” The man looked at him, and then looked away. This elicited this response from the young man, “Yo, that faggot just rolled his eyes at me yo! Fucking faggot!”

I rolled my eyes. Then, I started praying that their stop in Brooklyn would come soon and prayerfully before any more foolishness starts. After praying, I remember thinking, “See, this is why!” And before any of you decide to pick up where the unpleasantness they started yesterday left off, let’s address this.

As I gathered myself into myself yesterday in my attempt to become invisible to them, I mentally shook my head. I shook my head and wondered whether those fools owned a television? I know they had phones because they were taking pictures of their stellar behaviors and people’s reactions to them. So, I wondered how, in the face of what this nation has been experiencing, five young black vulnerable men could decide to call so much (justifiable) negative attention onto themselves.

No, they did nothing to die over (then); but they certainly did more than enough to be discriminated against (and not just from Caucasians; my ass wanted to move to!), and profiled. Their conduct said they were looking for trouble. And the thing is, if they found what they were looking for and the outcome was similar to what has been happening, there we would go again with the ‘injustices’ against us. I imagined the outcry and outrage should their stories end at the end of a gun… parents and the community up in arms over yet another “senseless” and “unjustified” death. The reality yesterday was, we needed to be protected against them. Their behaviors were invasive, offensive, disrespectful, threatening and vile… and could easily have been deemed dangerous.

I wanted to speak up. I didn’t for only one reason – I didn’t think they would “hear” me. They wore their ignorance like badges of honor. I felt threatened. And, I am still flabbergasted that this is how they chose to behave… this week. So many of us are out here fighting, chanting, praying, believing that, #blacklivesmatter and here they were adding credence to the opposite opinion. Making liars of our words. Making us look like fools. I am all kindsa confused because they made me want to revise to #someblacklivesmatter.

For a brief moment yesterday, I felt I should be ashamed of how and what I was thinking and feeling; then I decided to place the shame right where it belonged… with them. They should be ashamed of the way they behaved and the perceptions and opinions they crystallized in all of us on that car. The collective sighs of relief we all expelled when they got off at President Street spoke volumes of the tension, discomfort and vulnerability we all felt. I remember looking into the face of the woman sitting across from me and seeing a lot of what I was feeling and thinking reflected there.

So yes, our law enforcement needs to be trained on how to defuse situations in an effort to save and not waste any more of our lives. If they cannot be appropriately trained, they need to be relieved of their authority, badges, uniforms and guns. Clearly more frequent psyche evaluations are needed.

But, we need to do more than hash-tag, protest and be outraged. We need to police ourselves. We need to hold ourselves and each other accountable for the impressions we formulate. We need to do our part in keeping ourselves not only safe, but alive. (Again, I am not saying these young men yesterday did anything on that subway car worth dying for; but I am saying that their aggression could have been easily interpreted as such).

The nation is on edge. Fingers are on triggers. Tempers are short. Nerves are shot. Accountability needs to flow both ways.

I felt terrorized. And, I am a black woman. #mylifematters

 

 

 

 

Dear (Other) White People:

Dear (Other) White People:

No. I am not addressing those of you who understand and are outraged at the atrocities (once again) being afflicted on “us” black people. I am addressing those (others) of you who turn the channel, scroll past the reports, or are quick to change the subject.

I am addressing you who in times like these seemed to have perfected the ‘black people” rolling of the eyes, signifying your disdain for what you consider our whining.

This is to those of you who, even as you have referred to us as “animals” for centuries, won’t even dignify us with an iota of the sympathy and outrage you showed for the damned gorilla or lion.

This note is addressed to you white people who are intent on disregarding what happened to two more of ours before five of who you consider yours got killed.

Shouting out to you who, at your social/political events actually form the words, “Some of my best friends are black”.

I am writing to those amongst you who attempt to dilute our cries, our pleas and our emotions with your insulting, demoralizing and disrespectful comeback, “#alllivesmatter”.

You white people who find ways to justify our murders with our pasts. Who seem to think that because I may have stolen, lied, cheated or jay-walked one, five, ten years ago, shit… last week, my future deserves to be taken from me.

Those of you who believe your sons, partners, nephews, fathers, uncles are more valuable than mine; making mine more expendable than yours.

You damn white people who rehabilitate those among you who fuck up; but fuck up those amongst ours that do.

You know, you… who push past me, step on, bump up against without an apology. Who firmly believe that you own this world (and me) and attempt to treat me and those who look like me as the third-class citizens you deem us to be.

This is to you.

Dear (Other) White People:

We are not going anywhere. We are here to stay. So, find a way to get over yourselves. Understand that no matter how many of us you kill or jail, the “animal” in us will always fuck and make more. We are angry now; so we will make stupid decisions and mistakes. But, I will pray for you. For when we stop being angry, we will begin to get strategic… and you (other) White People… if you think a black man/woman/child who is angry is something to fear, it is nothing compared to a black/woman/child who is motivated.

Dear (Other) White People:

Fuck Off.IMG-20150515-WA0000

Signed,

A Black Woman With Some Cool-Ass White Friends.

(Used this pic already… but how appropriate is it?!)

 

 

 

 

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