Last night I discovered this Twitter account @YesYoureRacist (kudos to whomever made it but warning to all about language and ignorance galore). Whoever I hear next going on about how this is supposed to be a post-racial America will be directed there before being allowed to continue their thought.
My social feeds are trending a lot differently on this topic than they were two months ago. A lot a people were talking passionately about the situation in Ferguson, supporting the residents and signal boosting those who were live streaming it on location to get the real story out above the media narrative of "
In my Twitter feed I've seen a few white allies posting images of the SF Superbowl riots, buses being overturned, cars and other large objects on fire, as if to make fun of the media for finding the most inflammatory images and attributing it to the minority residents of Ferguson. People are posting "Insanity on the streets of...oh, wait. This is of *insert university* after the big game" which is to say that a riot causes damages like a riot does, and it happens anywhere for far less distressing reasons than simply being a result of 'minorities just don't know how to properly express outrage and are simply out of control.' Yes. It's currently being reduced to a black problem. This isn't a black problem. It's an American problem, which is worsened by the fact that that people in the majority are now becoming annoyed that they have to hear about it, completely unaware that many minorities don't ever enjoy the privilege of just changing the channel to catch the end of Dancing with the Stars.
I'm not all at surprised at the announcement that there's absolutely no penalty or charge for the killing of unarmed teenager Mike Brown, but I'm also not surprised at the backlash by the community due to the announcement.
I try to stay off the drama-filled threads because it's on those people quickly devolve into racist attacks and I just get so tired of reading them. And disappointed in people who don't interact with or even see black people any more often more than whoever was shot and makes it to the news. Or the it dancer of the moment shimmy-shaking their barely concealed shame on tv screens and in the media. I write these things here because I feel like expressing them. But no one will pay attention when I post this elsewhere unless someone else says them. A white woman saying this will turn heads. A white male saying this will command attention and attract some thoughtful dialog and maybe even garner some respect for talking about it. Me, as a black woman saying this? It's like "Well, of course she's going to talk about this."
No matter what I may achieve in this life, the people I impact, the positive things I try my best to put out wherever I go into the world, I'm always aware that a complete stranger is liable to take a sideways glance at me and assume the worst about my upbringing, my education, my place in this society and conclude that I am not deserving of the same respect given to a stranger who happens to not be a minority. And the onus will always be on me then to prove them wrong. Before I say a word, before I am aware that I'm being watched that onus is on me to do something to show that I'm worthy of being seen as a neutral individual in America and not automatically be reduced to a negative stereotype. I wish it weren't that way. I wish it were normal to see me as a neutral stranger. And that brings me to my last point. Respectability politics sucks. Why must I do anything to prove I'm one way or the other? I am uniquely me, but I am not an exception. If you get to know me, you know that there are millions of people just like me, who don't condone stupid and reckless behavior like burning stores and churches (?!) for something like an announcement-- preceded by a week of the military setting up camp and schools being canceled just in case. Clearly, no one was surprised. Especially not me. But, I cannot change the channel.