BP #9: Michael Brown Is Our Line
I have never felt such a desire, or calling to address an issue like I do now. I have never felt so many raw emotions, so much anger, and so much pain about one given issue. And every person reading this should feel those same emotions. That same fire in your soul because anyone of us, black or white or Hispanic or whatever, could have been Mike Brown. So while I know many of you will disagree with what I have to say, and many of you will have comments about this, I feel obligated, as a teenager, a college student, a black person, and a human being, to write these words.
Its been almost a month since Michael Brown Jr was shot in the streets of my hometown, St. Louis Missouri (Ferguson is a suburb), less than five minutes from my house. If you weren’t from St. Louis, you would probably think it was the same neighborhood.
But the geological proximity is not nearly as important as the racial and situational similarities.
First off, Mike Brown was a soon to be college student. When the shooting took place, so was I. I was just like him, looking forward to my years at Mizzou, and my continued success throughout life. But unlike me, he chance at the American Dream was stolen from him, ripped from his hands. And as college students, just starting our journey, looking forward to our lives, that should hurt us. Deep down it should make us think. It should make us angry.
Secondly, as a black male, we shared the same ugly stigma. We are not to even dare to be smart, or kind...or happy. We’re suppose to be gangbangers, drug dealers, and animals. And I’m not saying some of us aren’t bad people, but to say that only Black People are bad people, is blatantly unjust.
And lastly, and most basic, is the fact that Mike Brown was a human being. Take away the skin color, and the background, and everything else, and leave his humanity. Leave his heart, and his soul, and his basic human instincts. We all have those, right? We have compassion, the longing for something better, and hope. No matter how old you are. No matter where you are from, we can all agree on our humanity, and our god given souls.
And I still know that some of you would like to think that racism, and “white privilege” does not exist.
But It’s time to open your eyes, and see the light...and the darkness.
Because if Racism doesn’t exist, then why is it that when I see a cop, I’m nervous for my safety, instead of being secure about? Why is it that black children grow up fearing 911 instead of finding hope in it? And I am not saying all cops are bad? In fact, there are many many great protectors out there. And I thank all of those people.
But still, if Racism does not exist then why are our cities, and states separated? Why do races vote along certain lines? Why did folks who had voted democratic all their lives suddenly switch when Barack Obama decided he wanted to be the party leader?
And evermore, if Racism doesn’t exist, then why do certain races get followed around in stores, while others do not? Why do certain races get better service at stores? Why do certain races get waited on first? Why do some us have to prove ourselves? Why can’t we just go about our lives without being a thief?
And lastly, if Racism does not exist, why do we have a Mike Brown? Why do we have riots, and looting? Why do we have the world watching all of these United States of America? Why do we continue to have Trayvon Martins, and Emmett Till’s? Why are we still talking about this? Why do we not teach Racism in the history class like we teach slavery?
If you’re still not convinced then so be it, but I, along with millions of other human beings, know that the Founders’ dream of equality for all is still a little ways off. So whatever race you are, whatever country you call home, and whatever background you come from, you should care about Michael Brown Jr, and his life, his death, and his movement. Because equality is something we all want, and we all should have.
Throughout time we have fought for it. We have died for it. We have stood up tall for it. We have drawn lines in the sand, and held our ground for it. Michael Brown has to become our line. Our line where we say enough is enough.
Writing For A Change,