Silence is betrayal.
Catharsis–while healthy–is useless.
I have nothing new to add to the conversation. As vain and self-centered as I am, my voice–a drop in a historical ocean–means little in a world set ablaze.
But I can’t look back at this website–The Skinny BLACK Girl— in a year, or two years, or five years, and see no evidence of the pain, losses, and fears suffered by Americans at the hands of those tasked to protect us.
Americans who look just like me.
I am numb. Trayvon gutted me. Mike Brown pierced me. Tamir–murdered in a park I drove by every day for three years–settled it. I am not safe.
I never have been.
My humanity only exists to those who can prove it. Co-workers who will remark on my smile and constant pleasantness. Cashiers in the stores I frequent, whom I always greet with “Hi, how are you today?” and leave with “Have a good one.” Should I cross someone with no frame of reference, I am Other. Cutting eyes, neck rolls, and razor speech. Who grew up in the ghetto. Whose Instagram and Twitter are full of violent rap lyrics and pictures of whiskey. With a history of traffic and parking infractions. They’d tell you that I–at five feet, five inches tall and 122 pounds–was a threat that required elimination.
I wonder if my friendly co-workers will think it a shame. Or if they’ll reason with themselves that my life outside the office sealed my fate. If I hadn’t been so sassy. If I’d just followed directions.
I wonder these things, but I get up and get on with the business of life. An American, living in an America that my fellow citizens refuse to acknowledge. Not asking for its love. Not requiring its respect. Settled in the knowledge of its cruelty. Resigning myself to get up and get on with it, any-damn-way.
What a fucked up way to live.