Another straw on the back of the camel. Another not guilty verdict that was predictable. No, I couldn’t tell you not one detail in this case, why? Because the day this kid was shot, I was in South America and I basically said there would be no guilty verdict in this case. Why bother watching it, why bother learning the details when you know the outcome before the charges are even brought?
Somehow or another the shooting of a young black man for any reason seems to still manage to become justifiable, debatable and in order to get justice as in the case of Jordan Davis, there had to be a second trial. The fella that killed him,, shot into a parked car filled with teenagers because their music was too loud and the jury hung on a murder charge? Well, he was standing his ground therefore a decision was difficult to come to. Had that been a black man shooting into a car full of white teenagers, he would have been labeled a thug and a savage and sent to the death chamber. I wasn’t surprised by that verdict either. What I was surprised by was that the 2nd trial actually resulted in a conviction.
Last night in a moment of sadness, I posted (and then removed because I wasn’t ready to moderate the debate that was about to take place there), that I was saddened that yet another life was taken and that I feel that racism is alive & well inside of our justice system. A friend who happens to be vanilla came on saying this had nothing to do with race. I shared in that post that I was afraid since I happen to have a son who is in the “endangered species” age range and yes, that is what I think of young black men between the ages of 17 to 32 (ummm hmmm, I’m racial profiling). This friend shared that he felt I’d reared my son to never be in a position like this. This statement was laughed at in a wry sort of way when read on this side of the computer. My son, who graduated high school with honors, who is in his 3rd year of college, who works a 35 hour work week, who was reared by me has had plenty of brushes if you will with law enforcement. He delivers pizza and when his shift is over, the sign comes off the top of the car, he’s just a black guy driving a convertible home at 3 in the morning with the top down…..lets stop him…..multiple times. We won’t ever tell him exactly why we’re stopping him, just vague reports of suspicious activity in the area. So driving down the street at 3am is now suspicious? Lets just say, I never turn my cell phone off. While I would love to live in the space my friend lives in, I cannot afford the mindset that he has.
I as a woman have been spit on, chased out of areas violently while being called a nigger, when I had my luxury vehicle, I was stopped more times in that car than I’ve ever been in any other car in all my years, I have been followed through stores, asked if I could allow security to look through my bags (allowing and then getting no apologies for this behavior), in the last city here in Florida that I lived in, I actually had to file a complaint against an officer for frequently harassing me, interestingly enough, what caused them to really do something about this fella was that my son at the time was all of 8 and when I let the officer know that my son now recognized him, he pressed his face against the back window and yelled, “Good! He needs to remember this face” then they said his “bravado behavior” was unaccpetable. I had a merchant ask me to see the balance in my checkbook when I wanted to write a check once, I’ve been hired to fill a quota, fired because of my color, compared to a duck and a dog by a white woman for dating white men, told to my face by what I thought at the time was a friend that if his daughter ever dated a black boy, he would kick HIS ass, told countless times how articulate I am and how pretty I am for a black girl. Honey, I would love to say this was ALL that has happened to me but I could fill this post with shit if I had to dump my memory banks of the racism I have dealt with. Yeah, racism is dead but not if you’re black. Sorry, wish I could say I felt differently but I don’t.
The country knows racism is not dead and not only do they know it, they weren’t surprised by the verdict either. Before it was read, The National Guard was already in position. They knew there was gong to be some shit because they knew the verdict was going to be not guilty. I have no idea why people are rioting because by now we should be accustomed to these verdicts. When I was a teenager being chased out of Bridgeport, a Chicago community one of the protectors of the country (yes, that’s sarcasm folks) yelled at me to go back to where I came from so I headed over to North Avenue & Pulaski (its where I came from). However, now I’m not looking for “where I came from”, I’m looking for a place where I can shop, I can drive, I can walk, I can live & I can breath and not be concerned that my skin color puts that “freedom” promised by The Land of The Free….but not really, in jeopardy. Way back when I was congratulated on a pregnancy that was revealed to be a male, I started eyeballing the borders of this country. I looked at Calgary in Canada very seriously, I figured if the slaves ran to Canada then perhaps their ancestors might want to head that way too to avoid oppression.
I know for many of you that have known me for a while, these words may be shocking because I do my best to try to look at the entire reason behind some of the behavior I see. Sometimes people just don’t like me, I get it but I have been wandering around chocolate in America for 45 years, after a while you learn to distinguish especially when the vast majority of your friends are vanilla and the men you give your heart to are vanilla as well (yes, my children are black…my family was surprised). You learn when you are not liked and you try to give people the benefit of the doubt. A few years ago that was the case in a group of diverse friends, one of the women singled me out. I just figured she just didn’t like me….then her mother called me a savage in an email. OK, great, thanks for showing your hand. I am not saying other countries are without their issues but when I went to Europe, nobody gave a shit that I was in the store or on the arm of a white man. When I went to Chile, I was singled out from time to time because there aren’t a lot of chocolate people down there BUT they thought I was beautiful, I was treated like a freaking celebrity. I will say that’s not what I’m after either (although that was quite refreshing) I just want to be able to live without fear that standing out will be what causes my death or the death of my children. So, while I titled this in a way that says Ferguson has something to do with my decision to try to get the hell out of the States, really I was working on that before this happened because I knew it was going to happen because it has BEEN happening and its going to KEEP happening. I just don’t want it happening to me.