After the FL jury declared George Zimmerman not guilty of Trayvon Martin’s death, I wrote an open letter, as part of a CL column, to his brother, Robert, asking him to shut up about the case, his feelings about it, what we should do about it — and on and on. As I’ve witnessed the continued horrors of Michael Brown’s death and the situation in Ferguson, I’ve refused to talk about it, or, really, even think about it.
Who cares if no one’s listening?
Stop telling August it messed with your head.
Quit acting numb in reaction to said mess.
Find something to say and something more than facts: unarmed teen shot; protestors gassed; curfew imposed.
Stop with the cop-outs: I’m not Al Sharpton. I’m not Jesse Jackson.
Pessimism is not an excuse.
No, you’re not depressed.
Cut loose of your Just because I’m black doesn’t mean I have to say anything about it defense.
Even so, don’t say anything to the idiotic people you saw on social media this morning who inexplicably drew a connection between Beyoncé’s VMA performance, her daughter’s smile, and how black mothers must feel about their children lost to violence.
Let it go.
Know you don’t have time for “Time heals all wounds,” nor the idle prattle of “get over it,” “why am I not yet over it,” “why do I have to get over it.”
Stop pretending you can’t talk about it because there are too many words to use and they don’t make sense when strung together.
Spend less time looking up glossolalia: [glos-uh-ley-lee-uh]
n. 1. incomprehensible speech in an imaginary language, sometimes occurring in a trance state.
Nice try. You’re not in a trance. You know exactly what’s going on.
So sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Call bullshit.
Pull out the Constitution. Read “We the People” as “you the people vs. you the people vs. you the people… ”
Highlight every instance of “Rights” in the Declaration of Independence: rights with a capital R as if it’s some kind of proper person, place, or thing.
Put the books down and go outside. Think of how Michael Brown’s body must have smelled while he lay there for hours, dead in the sun, like roadkill.
Picture the exit wound in his head. Mentally roll him over. See the bullet’s entrance.
Touch your own face.
Face the fact that empathy, here, is impossible.
Go on. Listen to N.W.A’s “Fuck tha Police” and admit you are pissed, but don’t get so pissy you start yelling “Squalay!” or “Pig!” every time you see a Tampa PD car.
Cry for people you don’t know.
Repeat: "‘Buked and Scorned."
Remember every word to “Precious Lord” even though you may not believe in God, especially right now.
Look at a map and recognize that Missouri is not in the south, north, east or west, but smack in the middle.
Remember that time someone told you America is the only word that rhymes with your name.