I am quite done with Black people complaining that too many Black people are RIP-ing Robin Williams, but not saying anything about Mike Brown. One doesn’t have anything to do with the other. I am sad the man took his life. He brought joy, laughter, and thought-provoking emotion to me…a ton of it. He shared his craft, his gift with the world—and unbeknownst to us, all while hiding his own pain. What it takes to live with depression, and give yourself to the world despite that, is extraordinary. Besides, I am sad when ANYONE ends their own life. Exercising compassion does not detract from my “Blackness”. It’s me being HUMAN.
Meanwhile, I am not sad about Mike Brown.
I am ANGRY. Really fucking angry.
I’m a talker by nature. I accept the ‘know-it-all’ tag that has been given to me all my life. Between my FB ‘randoms’ and occasional soap-boxes, I always have something to say.
But when I am angry, I stop talking.
I am so angry that it is emotionally easier for me to RIP Robin Williams on Facebook, than it is to even figure out what to say about Mike Brown. This ain’t the first, third, tenth, or last time we gonna have a Mike Brown story. I have done everything that has ever been done—protested, wore a hoodie, wore Black all day in solidarity (even though I was thousands of miles away), changed my profile pic to a solid color, signed petitions, donated funds, written congresspeople, registered us to vote, marched in the street, talked to drug dealers on corners, organized community meetings, facilitated community crisis efforts….you name it. I’ve ACTUALLY done it. And guess what? INJUSTICE STILL HAPPENS. And it will still happen because injustice is interwoven into the fabric of America. There is no escaping it or changing it. There is only ACCEPTING it.
When I’m angry, I stop talking. But don’t mistake my silence for apathy. I’m pondering critically, questioning, and brainstorming. I’m being careful not to turn into a “I hate all white people” type because I was born in a country founded on deception, oppression, and just plain ol’ crookedness. I’m frustrated because we stir up dust, only for it to clear to the same scenario, and it never works. I’m over it not working. I’m over the limelight whores who capitalize on the grieving mother, or the Jesses and the Als, whose antiquated tactics no longer work for a social media society and a community of consumption like ours. I am scared to have a Black baby in America, and I don’t want to feel that, which conflicts with my personal desire to be a mother, and it feels horrible. It overwhelms me to feel that my nephew could be next and he is only 10. I am conflicted by the fact that my passionate pro-Blackness is jaded daily and creates a desire in me to fuck it all, leave it here and just move to another country. Photoshopping some angel wings on Mike Brown and blasting it around social media has never, nor will it ever, keep a police officer from taking his authority, salting it with bigotry, and sprinkling dead Black kids all over the country, so I will not ‘share’, ‘like’ or ‘tweet’ that. And that does not bring “awareness”…we all already know. This mixed bag of complex layers of several emotions has so far led to us attacking each other, further community disconnectedness, and in Ferguson, Missouri, riot gear and more death.
So because I’m angry, I stopped talking. I recognized my rage and I stepped back because emotions are irrational. Emotions will have you doing and saying and believing, and maybe even regretting. And we all express them whatever way we know how. “Hood” people are looting and tearing up shit in their own neighborhood. “Educated” people are protesting in the streets. “Broadway” people are doing conscious poetry in front of police stations. “Conscious” people are projecting their anger on anyone whose response isn’t pro-Black-enough. Non-black supporters are doing what they can without really understanding the depth of the pain, the internalized oppression, and the daily anxiety involved. Other people are ignoring it because indifference is easier. And everybody is recording it on their cell phones and posting it to YouTube.
We all in our feelings. And that is HUMAN.
So I will not apologize for being moved that a white man killed himself. He was not all white men. He certainly wasn’t the police officer that gunned down Mike Brown. I’m responsible for my emotions, and I refuse to project my rage anywhere but somewhere productive and strategic. And today, I don’t know yet where that is. I just know I’m angry.
And I’m not talking. Don’t judge me.