The worst thing is the message that this sends
I assume you know me, as we are Tumblr friends.
I assume you know my temperament.
I assume you know how prone I am to search for peaceful resolution.
I assume you know that I am generally articulate and respectful.
Let’s for argument’s sake assume that it was me walking through that neighborhood on the way to see my father. Or my wife. Or maybe. I’m looking to buy some property. Or maybe, God forbid, I just want to go for a walk.
I can guarantee you that if I thought someone was following me, I would at some point confront the person following me.
The verdict in the Zimmerman case sends the message that, I had better not confront the follower.
The possible vigilante.
The could be racist.
The self appointed John Wayne.
Because he could shoot me and get away with it.
So I have to walk with my plume in check.
Shuffle with my eyes down and turn my face towards the ground.
Make sure that I’m not wearing a hoodie.
And just to be safe, I should have on some dockers.
And above all, not stand MY OWN GOD DAMNED GROUND.
Because even if a 911 operator advises the stranger that is following me to stand down, he can shoot me and get away with it.
That’s the message that is being sent here.
So I walk with my plume in check.
Shuffle with my eyes down and my face towards the ground.
And I make sure that I’m not wearing a hoodie
And just to be safe, I wear dockers.
And above all, I’ll surrender MY OWN GOD DAMNED GROUND.
To get from point a to b
That ain’t living.
No matter what your race is.
Gun culture wins.
To all the dark skinned kids who get this message and turn down their shine so they don’t get shot, I apologize.
That ain’t living. I know.
You know I don’t normally reblog you, but this piece is powerfully moving and something that I recognize that I could not write on my own.
Over the past weeks, being in the Capitol, I have felt a different kind of discrimination. One where being a different gender meant my voice, my activism, and my point of view were condescendingly shoved aside.
Still, I had no fear of walking from place to place and the advantage of having a strong enough spirit to defy Pro-Birth defenders to dare me not to be there. I was lucky in that respect, that there were many DPS troopers to keep the peace, but even still, it takes much more for a person in that situation to fear a violent course of action. (We also tried to keep the peace as much as possible, despite what may have been reported otherwise, falsely.)
Though I do know that there are ProBirthers that are violent and willing to act in violence to make their voice heard, and that I have to monitor a few places online to make sure my identity, in the form of my address and phone number do not make it into the hands of extreme activists, it’s also a choice I make, and, like it or not, I still have access to privilege, though I am not as blind to it as others are.
It’s a far different thing to be told to sit down and shut up under the guise of the word “decorum”, than it is to fear a stranger walking down the street. That message was not lost, is not lost on many of us.
Houston is a melting pot of all kinds of nationalities, with Fort Bend and Harris Counties being among the most diverse in the nation. I am not colourblind when it comes to people or their cultures. I don’t believe that being so is respectful, because even if this is a melting pot, we should celebrate our differences and learn from each other, and I have had a lot of fun celebrating other cultures throughout my life here in this city.
Still, this trial, this verdict, this troubling racial swell that continues to infest our nation, however it may shrink slowly, still exists. For my part, I’ve found that I do everything I can to look people in the eyes, to give them that respect, no matter who they are or what position they hold. I haven’t always, because I’m an incredibly shy person. But, that one symbol of respect, helps tremendously.
My words won’t help heal, you, personally. They won’t help heal this wound. There are those of us that are empathetic enough to know the sting, but not feel the pain. All we can do is each try to be better to each other and speak out when we see wrong, when we can. It is my hope that the protests yesterday, today, and tonight bring some bit of comfort. That while we’re not where we want to be, we’re not completely in the past, either. We will get there. It takes time to change minds and attitudes. That’s not an excuse, not an apology, because I can offer neither in full. It’s just the way it is, even if it is no where near acceptable.