Over the past few months there has not been a lot of discussion on the Michael Brown case in Ferguson but today I wanted to put something out to provide a forum for discussion. Also to inform our readers where we as blog, bloggers and most of all Black men stand on this issue. I won’t spend a lot of words because I’m sure you prefer your commentary from whomever you’ve already become accustomed to hearing your commentary from but I will provide perspective.
SBM has not stood for Single Black Male for a long time, it’s just a title. SBM has been a place for the urban male perspective for some time now. That’s why it’s hard for me not to at least say a few words because the situation strikes a chord with me. None of the bloggers on this blog have been immune to interactions with police officers. Most, if not all of us have encountered white police officers in our travels. What troubles me about this issue is that I’d like to think that our police officers are here to keep us safe. What we know now is that isn’t always the case and it’s not an exaggeration to say we feel like feeling safe is a minority opinion for Black men in this country.
I had my thoughts on what would come out of the Michael Brown grand jury and that’s not important. Let’s just say, none of what I thought would happen happened. And that’s the crux of the matter, nothing happened. We rely on all the laws that we have in this country to maintain order and when these laws fail us we lose faith. This is a tragedy that affects everyone not just Black people. For non-Black folks understand that as disappointed that we are that no indictment was returned in the homicide of Michael Brown, we’re generally just sick and tired of shit like this happening.
It’s okay for people to be mad, upset, angry and disappointed. The system continues to fail us or come short of protecting us. It’s hard not to feel like a second class citizen when we can’t say with full confidence that if the tables were turned the outcome would have been the same. Chris Rock once attributed the progress of race matters in the US to the fact that America has gotten “less crazy.” Last night tells us that maybe Chris Rock was speaking too fast.
People always ask me how I’m doing and my response is the same, “Given my circumstance, the best that I could be.” That holds true today. Now brothers and sisters in the fight; Black, white or indifferent please channel your efforts positively or at least effectively. And y’all don’t lose your job today or find your way on probation. God doesn’t like ugly and we ain’t got to be ugly.
Stay safe but most of all stay alive.
For blacks justice in America is like gambling in a Las Vegas casino: you may gain a victory here n there, but the house always wins. Always.
Not shocked by that verdict. I am actually 100% fearful of ever having kids (notably a black boy) and raising him in a world where his life is considered expendable. Can’t blame the looters or the violent reaction. You want to be mad at Obama, go ahead. Understand a US president cant incite a riot. This is beyond him no matter his color. You see the disrespect he gets, what makes you think we are above it?
When are we gonna cut the rhetoric about “looking in the mirror and controlling our reactions” When are we as AMERICAS going to put the magic mirror in front of our faces and ask it what does it see? Must be nice to look down in ivory towers of privilege and oblivion while people of color are reduced to just “act non violent”. So fed up with all of this.P.S. 100 middle fingers to Don Lemon! What a disgrace to us…
St. Louis is my home. Watching everything you’ve ever known burn to the ground is unbearable. The fact that I, as well as my peers knew this would be the end result is sad. It’s crazy to me that in 2014 these types of things are still happening. I’m angry, I’m hurt and I’m scared for our future as a people. We have been devalued, oppressed, targeted, profiled, provoked, hunted and now we are being destroyed one by one with no recourse.
I just pray that my city is strong enough to endure the days to come. We aren’t crazy, we are hopeless, and until someone who is in a position of power can look at the bigger picture and see that this will be the end of the ideology of a country United and only the start of a civil war, we are doomed.
– Keita Wheats
As a young black man in America I’m confused as I head to the office this morning. Where does the law protect those affected by blatant crime? These things continue to happen in large part due to lack of consequence for the offender. There’s got to be action beyond any black Friday boycott, that’ll just be a flavor of the month deal. How can we begin a real movement?
– Damn Pops
Watching how the DA basically refused to do his job and seek a prosecution while at the same time discrediting witnesses, blaming news outlets and social media it let me know one thing. He colluded with the defense. The past 100 days for them has never been about seeking justice but proving to the world that white privilege is more important that black life.
The narrative I’ve watched today and what I’ve seen on social media across all races seems to focus on the rioting as if there haven’t been 100 days of peaceful protest. Its amazing that a family won’t get the see justice served but all everyone can focus on is looting and rioting. I’ve seen us get called animals and good for nothing as if white people don’t riot when their team loses or wins a championship. I don’t care about any of that because I’m not worried about [white] America’s feelings towards us. Property can be replaced but life cannot.
Lastly, just want to leave an excerpt from MLKs “Letter from a Birmingham Jail. I saw posted by Raphael House of Portland:
“You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.”
I’m still a little numb and at a loss from words, especially after seeing someone’s comment on Facebook and one of their friends’ responses referring to Mike Brown as “a thug who caused his own demise”. I’m tired of waiting, though. When an officer, who was “in fear for his life”, can receive no indictment for murdering a young, Black man with not just one or two shots, but multiple bursts…what alternatives do people have? Non-violent protest after non-violent protests and then this? You can’t be surprised that people responded in kind, but I choose something different. I choose to remind young men that they matter in this world, despite what the #FergusonDecision. I choose to have honest questions about race with no judgements. I choose to create community in love. I choose to take action. As opposed to thinking of individual initiatives the time now is ripe for collaborative efforts. I’ll leave with what I left with a quote I shared with my mentoring program, “You are important and you matter. Your feels matter. Your voice matters. Your life matters. Always.” Prayers out to Mike Brown’s family and our brothers/sisters in Ferguson.
– Amir Figueroa
I’m tired of being shocked, I’m tired of feeling hopeless. It’s time to be outraged. It’s time to be proactive. My random, disorganized thoughts, in a nutshell. My advance apologies, because I’m about to go HARD:
-It’s interesting that the National Guard managed to get to Ferguson on time to stop the “rioting” but back when Hurricane Katrina was going down….
– It’s funny how people want to criticize how Blacks react to injustice. Politicians are telling us to imitate Martin Luther King Jr. and be peaceful when MLK’s peaceful attitude didn’t stop the U.S. government from arranging his assassination. *sips tea*
– I’m fed up with the marches, decades of Black history have showed that they don’t work.
– Why are we being scrutinized for a tiny percentage of people rioting over the murder of a teenager when whites riot twice as hard over pumpkins and sports? Why don’t their riots get as much media coverage?
– We have to stop spending money on corporations who invest that money to influence laws that work against us!
– We live in a capitalist society. Their language is CAPITAL or money. We need to speak their language and make sure they understand our message. Not through marches, but through our refusal to feed their economy. The main reason we were desegregated wasn’t because they felt compassion for blacks, it was to benefit from our MONEY. It’s time to take it back and empower ourselves and our communities.
– Boycott Black Friday. Boycott major corporations. Pool that money back into your own community by buying black.
– The biggest mistake you can make is thinking things have changed, things are the same, they’ve just taken on a new form. We’re still getting lynched except the nooses have been replaced with guns and we’re lynching ourselves as well. We still have the house slaves who would step on the backs of other slaves just to get approval from massa’ (the Stacy Dash’s and Don Lemon’s of society). Take a look at yourself and visualize what role you would have played during slavery. Would you be helping the movement or hindering it?
– Why do we continue to support and brush aside negative images of us on the media via ignorant rappers and reality shows? Black people used to pay to watch minstrel shows back in the day too. Are you one of those that financially support the coonery and degradation of your own people then get mad when people of other races don’t take us seriously?
– After all the outrage wears off, are we going to go back to obsessing over sex, sports and a popular culture that disrespects us until one of us becomes the next hashtag?
After the choice not to indict Darren Wilson was announced, I couldn’t breathe. I was standing in Union Square and I felt my lungs empty of oxygen, my body went numb.
As a journalist, I’m supposed to remain objective. I keep reminding myself of that. But it’s almost impossible to do, when this oppression is so personal.
All I could think about, as I was walking along 7th avenue with the 1600 other people who were hurt and appalled by the decision, was my grandmother.
She was born in Mississippi into a family of sharecroppers and when she witnessed President Obama’s 2004 win, she was thrilled, to say the least. She died several years later, and as she was passing all she talked about was how she was happy all of her children and grandchildren were well taken care of.
That’s what all of our ancestors have prayed and wished and died for– that we would be better taken care of. And it is absolutely suffocating to think that, after all this time, we might not be.
– Celeste Little
Updated 11/26 – 9:53AM
I didn’t feel anything when I found out Darren Wilson wasn’t getting indicted. I sat there, looking at the screen, and felt nothing. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t hurt. I was actually more pissed at Don Lemon’s “there is OBVIOUSLY marijuana smoke in the air” comment than I was by anything Robert McCulloch had to say. That’s telling. I cried tears when Trayvon Martin died, shook my head in disbelief at the news of Eric Garner, was dumbstruck when I saw what happened with John Crawford III, and motivated to take a bus from DC to Ferguson when Mike Brown was murdered. Justice being outside the grasps of black men in America no longer has an effect on me because I don’t ever expect for us to get it. I’ve known this point for the majority of my 28 years on this Earth. It’s strange what you can get used to. My girlfriend, however, is not used to it. She cried. And cried. I held her while she cried and asked me “how could this happen? Why didn’t they do anything? How are we supposed to raise kids in this world?” I didn’t have an answer for her. For the first time in our two year relationship my girlfriend brought me a problem and I just…I didn’t have an answer. I couldn’t even pretend I could come up with a solution. And that’s what is starting to sink in. We’re running out of answers. Black people in this country are running out of legal and safe ways to get white America to understand that black lives matter. I don’t fear what happens when Black folks stop asking for white America to stop shooting us down like dogs. I fear my children might grow up without a father because should the day ever arrive when Black people take up arms against mainstream America, I’ll be right there with them.
– Garfield Hylton
I wanted to share a little perspective from outside the America.
I was really shocked and appalled to hear what happened, I didn’t know what to think really and what can a foreigner bring to the table what you guys don’t already know?
Nothing much, but there has been a whole discussion about police with cameras and using technology to aid solutions in the British media.
Every time I hear this my hand gets a little tense, as using technology to aid or solve human problems is not a good idea.
Its far too easy to turn off cameras and get around systems which are only there to keep those who play by the rules.
You only have to look at piracy to understand this.
Talking of rules, what makes things worst is the rules don’t seem to apply to the police in the states.
You don’t think a police officer which has no problem gunning down innocent black men, wouldn’t break the camera lens, remove the power or find another way?
Technology can help but only when people are willing to be helped. Its like an addict, you have to admit you need help before you can be helped.
The police are clearly not willing, the courts are clearly not willing and the system just backs them up.
Lawrence lessig a Stanford lawyer turned his head to understanding the endemic corruption and although not directly applicable is worth thinking about when talking about what’s wrong.
I’m not saying the UK is any better but the system out there is so corrupt and so broken, something has got to give…
Keep on fighting the good fight people and never give up
Ian Forrester | @cubicgarden | Cubicgarden.com