Posted by : Halima Khait Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Initially when I heard the news on Monday evening, I was numb. That's the best way to describe it. I say this because I was sad for the unjustified loss of life and the unimaginable pain of his family. But after Trayvon Martin and countless others like him, I was not surprised. It was kind like the grand jury was saying, hey we all know nothing is going to come of a trial, so let's just skip the charade this time.
But by Tuesday night I was a mess. I mean, stomach upset - tears welling up in my eyes - had to take my earrings off at work - mess. I attribute this to two things.
The first was the complete insensitivity and obliviousness of media coverage paired with the reactions it evoked from my coworkers and social media circle. The best example I can give is when CNN aired the video of Lesley McSpadden, Michael Brown's mother, reacting to news the Wilson would not be indicted. Instead of the media capturing the real story - a grief-stricken mother trying to understand why she not only lost her child, but why she doesn't deserve to get justice for him - it focused on Brown's stepfather, Louis Head. I'm not a man, but I can understand Head's anger at not being able to not only protect his stepson's life, but also protect his wife from the pain of her loss. And as a human, I can understand people being upset about the riots and looking for someone to pin as the instigator. In this instance, Head is a visible and thus easy target.
But by doing so the media overlooks the fact that the riots are symptomatic of a larger problem. The problem that young, black lives are being lost everyday and the black community is being asked, through lack of action, to take it quietly sitting down. Do I agree with the riots?? Not necessarily, but I understand them. There's only so many times you'll be silenced while trying to insert yourself before you do something to take the attention you need and deserve. The fact that mainstream America doesn't get this is maddening.
I sat by silently on Tuesday (at the risk of speaking up and becoming the mad, black woman) and witnessed people in my office watch this video and make comments like, "Look at [Head's] pants," is reference to his sagging jeans. Completely oblivious to McSpadden's grief and Head grasping to try and fix it for her the best way he knew how in that moment. Completely overlooking the roles of mother and man. Completely missing that though they are brown people, they are still people what have emotions that are relatable if they could just be seen as such.
The second thing that had me messed up on Tuesday (and I apologize for the length of this post, but I HAVE to vent) was the reactions of my friends who have children. They are now tasked with explaining a monumental event to little people who see life in black-and-white, fair and not fair. And that's not fair. It's not fair for my friend, the father who has to explain to his son that he can't wear his hat backwards like his white friends because to do so may be a life and death decision. Or my other friend who just taught his son about slavery on Monday and assured him that everything was much better for us now, but has to go back and add a caveat. It's not fair to any parent who has to raise a child to not only be successful, but also how to appear non-threatening and how to stay alive. It makes me anxious about considering having my own children and taking on that task. Even more so, it makes me anxious about the state of our country.
I don't know what's going to come next and what it's going to mean for us or for me. What I do know is I'm going to support a push for justice by contributing to the Legal Support Fund for Justice for Mike Brown. This fund is being used to provide legal aid to those who have been arrested in Ferguson while protested Michael Brown's murder. I urge you to join me.
~ With ♥ from Halima