Saturday, August 16, 2014

N.I.C.E. Salutes Mike Brown: The Young Man Who Died for Walking While Being Black

As many of my readers know, from time to time, I take a pause to discuss something that because of the seriousness and importance of it, I must stop and reflect on it, for and with my readers.  So this time, it is about something that happened recently, which is the heinous slaughtering of Mike Brown, a young man who was killed for walking while Black.  As Black women, ONE of our primary roles, is to nurture, love, raise and empower our Black men who are brought into this world through our bodies.  As mothers, we see them as little babies and boys and we love them.  We hug and cuddle them and there is such a sense of pride in having one of them.  We love our daughters equally and give them equal love and nurturing and our dreams and hopes for our children, our sons, our daughters, our princes and princesses are big.  Some of us choose roles in life so that we can give and help these beautiful individuals, beyond in our own households, and we do so with the same intensity and love.

So, for me, and of course this is my personal opinion, when I see one of these young Black Princes, gunned down in the street, just because he was walking, it hurts me deeply.  I feel for his mother.  I agonize with her because I too have a Black Prince that I raised...a young Black man that I held in my arms as a baby and watched him grow to be an intelligent, handsome young man that I can  talk to, see, know and love, all the while knowing that as great as he is, some members of society,  see him through a different lens and do not recognize that his value is as significant as those who hold the power in this nation over most of our work lives and at all levels of this society in general.  Some would try to take what I am saying and paint me as a so-called "radical"  and say that we are in a post-racial society because we have a Black President.  I have decided that I am not even going there anymore, in terms of dialogue, because it is a waste of my breath, words and energy.  I raised both of my children with my husband by my side, a wonderful Black man who is a great husband and father.  I believe that every parent deserves the opportunity to do this in a society without worrying that (because of the color of their skin their sons primarily, because generally the slaughter of Black men is taking place, but history and recent events tells us that we must also have similar concerns about our daughters) may be gunned down in the street or placed in a choke hold or some other dreadful end to their lives for no reason. Some will argue and take the position that so-called "Black-on-Black" crime is worse.  My thought is to deal with that issue separately.  It has a different history, different facts and different scenarios and simply serves as a diversion from the reality that Black men are being killed by those who have been designated to protect ALL of us in this society.

I try not to be angry and bitter but rather spend my life speaking truth to power.  This, I know, causes those who think that they have power over me to try and suppress me.  It causes my loved ones to say to me sometimes with a little caution in their voice,  "maybe you shouldn't write that, or say that because...." and I write and say it anyway, appreciating their loving concern. My loved ones also stand up and cheer for me for being a strong and courageous Black woman, when I have the strength to do so, as I so appreciate the love and try to lead by example. It causes some, when I make decisions to stand on my own and not to bow to those who think they have power over me to wonder if they should have empathy or be excited about where I will land next.  But what I know for sure is that our lives have meaning and purpose.  In order to assess what is happening around us, both the good and the bad, we have to have time to take it in and process it and use our skills to lend what we have to share with the world what we know to be true (the good, the bad and the ugly) and how we feel about so many injustices that have taken place.  Social media and blogging has given us the forum to do that. Writing and speaking wherever and whenever we can gives us that space to share our perspectives.

So, now I take the time to express my thoughts about Mike Brown. He was ours.  He was a Black, young man, just emerging from boyhood.  He graduated from high school.  His mother and his father are deeply saddened by his loss.  His memory is being tarnished by the presentation of a video of a young man who had a confrontation in a store.  There is no sound in the video so we do not know what happened in that store.  The word robbery is being imposed on us.  We are being told, as the police officer who killed him was to be named and the focus of an announcement, that this young man, Mike Brown, who was left lying in his own blood in the middle of the street, shot down, not because of the alleged robbery, but because he was walking while black, deserves to die in cold blood.  Some people are actually writing and saying those words via social media and beyond.  We are told that peacefulness is a must in terms of anger and rage and if not tanks, swat teams, rubber bullets and other weaponry and mechanisms, like tear gas will be used on the very people that feel victimized because of the loss of this young man.  The media is giving a play by play like this entire atrocity is some kind of sport or reality show while feeding our need for information about how and why something like this would happen. We are trusting and believing what we are being told but doubtful because much of it does not add up. We have others that keep saying that if you just work hard, never get into any trouble and literally stay in the spaces we have provided for you to thrive with just a proverbial handful of you (percentage wise) being able to move around in the kind of comfort enjoyed by others, maybe you will survive, unharmed and won't end up like Mike Brown.  Our children are being told, if you just continue to learn in our schools of higher learning where tuition is well beyond most people's reach, we will give you loans with interest and make money off of you when you finish, we will then pay you what we think you should earn while lauding over you and we will run these places and we will make sure that your reach is not too high because those spaces are reserved for only those who we deem to be in power. Our children are being told that if  you are not able to make it to "success" in your work life because you could not make it through the inferior, lack of resourced, teaching-to-the test public schools that we made up for you in your neighborhoods, then perhaps you will have a tendency to try to make a living by other means or just walk around surviving in environments that in many cases, are barely survivable and that is idle and dangerous.  We are told not to worry though because those neighborhoods will be "policed" by people who's role is to serve and protect and most of them won't look like you. The risk unfortunately, is that you may die, for walking while Black.

So unfortunately, Mike Brown is the protagonist in this latest situation that has unfolded.  I refuse to let my memory of this young man that I did not know personally but now connect with him and his family deeply from afar, be a lifeless, limp human being left in his own blood on the street after being gunned down.  I will remember him as a Black, young man who was finding his way to his grandmother's house and was gunned down in the street of the nation where he was born and lived for walking while being Black.  But that just before that atrocity, he made it across the stage to receive his diploma with his family watching him proudly, walking while being black.

N.I.C.E. salutes Mike Brown and his family!  May he Rest In Peace...
Photo Taken by Elcardo Anthony:  See in Washington Post Article per link below

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