I don’t know about you all but I’ve been literally glued to my computer screen reading anything and everything I can about the enraging shooting death of Mike Brown, the outright theft by local authorities of Black peoples’ civil and constitutional rights in Ferguson, St. Louis, and the massive cover-up of police abuse and misuse of authority. I’m absolutely devastated when I consider just how disposable our children’s lives continue to be when it comes to the simplest of encounters with law enforcement, but grateful that we live in a time when those feelings can be expressed in real time, not just by taking to the streets, but also by using our words—wrapped with our hearts—to say out loud, enough. Enough.
There have been some powerful words written in the name of Mike Brown. Words that you should take the time to read. To use to be inspired. To get mad. To see how you, too, can be a part of change. Here are some of my favorites.
In defense of black rage: Michael Brown, police and the American dream
Brittney Cooper for Salon.com
“Every week we are having what my friend Dr. Regina Bradley called#anotherhashtagmemorial. Every week. We are weak. We are tired. Of being punching bags and shooting targets for the police. We are tired of well-meaning white citizens and respectable black ones foreclosing all outlets for rage. We are tired of these people telling us what isn’t the answer… We are tired of these people preaching a one-sided gospel of peace. “Turn the other cheek” now means “here are our collective asses to kiss.” We are tired of forgiving people because they most assuredly do know what they do.”
My Sweet Young Sons: Cops Are Neither Here to Protect Nor Serve You
Kirsten West Savali for Dame magazine
“They are not here for us and they never were. If this were not true, a Black person wouldn’t be killed every 28 hours in this country by law enforcement. They wouldn’t be too busy lynching our children to protect them or too busy criminalizing them on sight to really see them. This is war. And where there is war, there can be no peace.”
No. Michael Brown Couldn’t Have Been Obama’s Son
Akiba Solomon for Colorlines
“I get the optics; Obama can’t in any way identify with civil unrest. But what about telling the truth about police brutality against black people? In his remarks he instructed listeners to “remember how this started. We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances.” That’s the understatement of 2014. Brown wasn’t “lost” to us; he was snatched from his family and community by a still-unnamed cop. The circumstances aren’t just “heartbreaking” and “tragic.” They are unacceptable. But we won’t see the president pull out that folksy tone he uses when chiding black audiences for making excuses and blaming colonialism for Africa’s economic problems. For Michael Brown, he emphasizes law and order—even though a policeman was the one who pulled the trigger.” —the brilliant Akiba Solomon. Spot on as always.
America Is Not For Black People
Greg Howard for Deadspin
“By all accounts, Brown was One Of The Good Ones. But laying all this out, explaining all the ways in which he didn’t deserve to die like a dog in the street, is in itself disgraceful. Arguing whether Brown was a good kid or not is functionally arguing over whether he specifically deserved to die, a way of acknowledging that some black men ought to be executed.
To even acknowledge this line of debate is to start a larger argument about the worth, the very personhood, of a black man in America. It’s to engage in a cost-benefit analysis, weigh probabilities, and gauge the precise odds that Brown’s life was worth nothing against the threat he posed to the life of the man who killed him. It’s to deny that there are structural reasons why Brown was shot dead while James Eagan Holmes—who on July 20, 2012, walked into a movie theater and fired rounds into an audience, killing 12 and wounding 70 more—was taken alive.”
Michael Brown, Another Black Teen Dead.
Miles Ezeilo for The Darker Lens.
I’m sorry, but the last time I checked, black boys don’t resemble geese, quail, or any kind of deer for that matter. So why in the world are we being hunted by the people that are supposed to protect us. How am I supposed to call this country “home”, when it is obvious that the police force turn on anybody that looks like me? Is there a reason behind this violence? That’s what I’m still trying to find out. But until then, I am staying as far away from the cops as I can. Because at this point in American society, making it through the day as a black boy truly is a blessing.
There’s a police coup going on right now in Ferguson, Mo.
Will Bunch for Philly.com
“This afternoon, several hundred citizens who gathered on a public street, in broad daylight, to air their grievances over Brown’s killing were met with a massive SWAT team, an armored personnel carrier, and men in camouflage pointing heavy artillery at the crowd. Two prominent credentialed journalists who tried to report on the event were arrested for a time, and there was a report that a state senator who questioned authorities about tear gas earlier was also in custody. All this as authorities continue to cover up the most basic information about what happened on the night Mike Brown was murdered.”
A Mother’s White Privilege
For a mother, white privilege means your heart doesn’t hit your throat when your kids walk out the door. It means you don’t worry that the cops will shoot your sons. It carries another burden instead. White privilege means that if you don’t school your sons about it, if you don’t insist on its reality and call out oppression, your sons may become something terrifying. Your sons may become the shooters.
By Karen Walrond for Chookooloonks.com
I’m tired of walking through the world constantly aware of how my blackness is being perceived, how my interracial marriage is being perceived. The fact is, whether it is being perceived positively or negatively, if I’m in the United States, I am always aware of it, and I’m tired.
Actor Jessie Williams breaks down how journalists further stereotypes of Black folk by focusing on the few who do wrong, rather than the core issue: a Black teen was shot multiple times by a police officer seemingly for walking in the street.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.
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When you have a group, where the bad seeds represent everyone, you will always have this group defined by negative stereotypes. With all other groups, the good seeds are a representation of all. This group will always have contributions of positive stereotypes. With Black people, they will always be defined by the worst among the group. When it comes to other groups, well, they have the “luxury” where their groups are defined by their best. I will admit that we have our struggles. It would be a clear fabrication to say that violence among groups of lower income Black individuals, is nonexistent.
However, when people connect an individual with no sense of self, who believes a criminal state of mind is the only way, with that of law abiding Black people as a whole–this is the problem I have with the media. This is the problem I have with those who receive media conditioning about Blacks. I expect that a thug will rob me. I expect that a thug will try to harm me physically. This is what a thug would do. However, I surely do not exit the house with the expectation that a cop will rob me, harm me or do anything outside the realms of their duties. To deny that this happens, is on par with saying all Black people are criminals. This is obviously a blatant lie.