My Spirit is Weary: #TerenceCrutcher and the Never-Ending Hashtags
Another day, another #hashtag. I write this piece at the brink of a cold. I’ve got a slight fever, headache, a little dizziness, runny nose, and on-again off-again fatigued that has plagued me for much of the day.
Last weekend, I was away on business in Atlanta and all of last night as I boarded a night flight back home to Chicago, I noticed my social media timelines going completely nuts and in disarray about a man named Terence Crutcher.
The quick of it is—in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mr. Terence Crutcher, father of 4, student, churchgoer, and all-around good man, was on the road as he had just gotten out of class, and he was having trouble with his vehicle. Police officers approached him and as he walked up towards them to tell them of his car issues, they asked he have his hands in the air. He was unarmed. He complied and suddenly was killed. In cold blood. Just gone.
Body cams were conveniently not working and the helicopter video that is online shows evidence of his compliance to show his hands in plain sight.
Another hashtag. Another wrongful death. Another cold-blooded killing marked by the Thugs In Blue.
In other news, it’s just another day in the USA. Business as usual.
Being black in America, it’s not safe for us to:
Miss a turn signal while driving
Sell CDs, even though we have permission to do so from a store owner
Reach for our licensed weapon when asked
Sell cigarettes to make a little money
Sleep in our homes
Wear a hoodie
Have our hands up and ask not to be shot
Have car trouble
While it is heartbreaking and discerning to keep seeing this happen to my skinfolk in this nation, I am left wondering after each hashtag if our anger, our protest, and our outrage will ever truly mean anything. Sure we have come a long way in the journey to equality in this country, but I just wonder…….how many more deaths will it take to get some actual change, legislatively and mentally? It goes without saying that a lot of our laws in this country need to be amended and some need to be done away with completely. However, what about the mentality of the people that make the laws and of the spirits of the citizens of our nation as a whole? How do we “end racism” if the minds of so many people from the majority (read: white people) is either racist in nature or dismissive over our issues because white privilege upholds and protects them so dearly? How do we get them to actually care enough to stand beside us and get collective order?
FACT: Over 780 black men and women have been killed this year at the hands of the very same people that are trained to protect and serve the citizens.
It is beyond my understanding how white people and media do not seem to understand how these events affect us. But then, once I absolved within myself that they understand perfectly fine—they just do not care because it does not directly involve or affect them, then everything came full circle and I understood perfectly. It was like I had a light bulb moment of sorts.
In each and every death that happens in our black community at the hands of law enforcement officials, we have to deal with that death, read about how the officer is on paid administrative leave during the investigation that takes place proceeding it, look at our timelines as we see our brothers and sisters outraged and our white friends nearly always silent on the issue, then a day or so later, we find out that there are drugs around the area of the shooting that were not there when everything broke out—smear campaigning—We riot, we plan protests, we line the streets with our bodies, signage, chants, and tears. Later, after all of our prayers and protests, we find out that the same officer will not be indicted and no trial will take place even though there is audio and many times video footage showing an unjustified killing. We do all of this and we are tired and weary and someone with media influence stands up for us and engages in peaceful protest to make a valid and necessary point about the parallels and inconsistencies in our justice system and in the country as a whole and that person is ridiculed, belittled, called ignorant and his job is threatened.
I wrote about white people and their overall lack of care for black issues because they are guarded by white privilege when I addressed Kaepernick’s protest and the following outrage that resulted from white people all around the country.
I call bullshit and I call foul play. All this festers in my mind and within my spirit as I see yet ANOTHER unarmed black man slain while actual terrorists are captured bullet-free and live to see their trials.
Being black is prideful and magical but this magic comes with a price. To be considered a threat for no other reason than blackhood and blackness is a tough pill to swallow. And it is honestly a pill that will be lodged in my trachea for the rest of my life. It will never go down smoothly.