Am I worse than the Police in America?
I had this thought all day yesterday. Am I worse than the police in America? As an official Facebook junkie I log in about 600 times per day. I heard about the Alton Sterling story. Like most other people I watched the video. And there, the feeling was deeply located in my chest… I felt nothing. Not one single thing. I mean I felt shocked that I was watching someone die, I knew it was real, but I felt nothing. The feeling drove me crazy. I texted a few friends, I had to ask, was I crazy? Was I heartless? I mean I am black. My father was black, my brother is black, I’ve had black boyfriends that I have loved before… so how could I just feel nothing? I didn’t feel deep anguish and sorrow like I did with Trayvon Martin. I mean he shared the same first name as my brother, before he attended Michael Krop he went to Carol City a school I had taught at, I had talked to his sister on occasion. I was proud of my students when they marched out of class and took to the streets. I myself had driven to Sanford, Florida and protested at the courthouse. It didn’t change the fact that my student had lost her brother. The killer went free. I didn’t feel uncontrollable rage, like I did with Michael Brown. They found the worst pictures possible to plaster all over the news networks. I marched and shut down I-95 during Art Basel in Miami. We layed down blocking traffic for miles in Wynwood. It didn’t change the fact the Darren Wilson is still a free man, and Michael Brown’s mother still hears her son when it rains. And yesterday and the day before, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling lost their lives senselessly to police brutality. And of all things to ponder, it had me thinking I must be worse than the police to feel nothing. But, I had felt so much before, done so much before. And now I just watched the same system do what they have always done to the same people they have always done it to. No change, no justice, no results. I honestly don’t know why I don’t feel anything. Perhaps, because I know nothing will happen. I know that they will be hashtags for about a week or so until something more interesting happens or another black person is killed by the police. I know that people will be upset enough to hold vigils and perhaps even protest in the streets. I know people will be mased, and tear gassed and arrested in the name of a justice that does not exist for black people in America. I know that CNN will portray these men in the worst light possible, they will diligently search for mugshots (as if all black people have mug shots). Analysts will argue back and forth for primetime ratings. They will wait, hide, and alter evidence, drag out the litigation, processing, jury selection, and trial date until people are either docile enough or too exhausted to deal. And it will happen again. And we will deal…again as per usual in the same cycle. The cycle alone has to be so inimicable to the mental health of black people. For me the cycle was just exhausting and humiliating. Maybe that’s why I felt nothing this time. Maybe my soul, just couldn’t handle it this time. The police feel nothing when they kill black people, so maybe I am like them… maybe I am worse. Maybe it was part of the plan to make us numb.