I told my oldest friend “there is not an emotion that comes to mind that I do not currently feel.”
I told one of my newest friends “I need time to gather my thoughts and maybe a little space to heal.”
No fault of their own, yet both offered an apology.
I wish there was more empathy, like this, in our society.
I can’t stand being defined as a color that doesn’t actually match my skin.
But when faced with the two, I understand preferring to be called “Black” over “African American”.
Now my family is multiracial, so my version of “Us” is different from what you may think.
Still, with that said, some will dismiss it and give it less thought than it takes to blink.
Us. The one’s that you’d rather tweet at than be near.
You are not listening to Us. Or maybe you just don’t hear.
Each time and each way we voiced our opinion you said was too loud.
So we lay, in silence. Under you. In front of a crowd.
And you take our breath!
We cry out for the system to stop devaluing lives and it responds by imploring Us to honor death.
I am a “son of a bitch” on my knee, “resisting” on my stomach, and a “thug” on my feet.
I hear “we” on the air, but only see Us in the street.
I understand but don’t condone the destruction. In fact, it makes most of Us sick.
But ignoring the cause is like being angry with a dying animal for its kick.
It’s wrong. Your life and livelihood should never be in danger as a result of an act that you didn’t commit.
But, before the fires that burned Us also touched you, how willing were you to talk and hear about it?
I see guns pointed at the heads of people kneeling, as an “attempt to de-escalate”?
You arrive at peaceful protests in riot gear and are surprised when things escalate?
If dealing with a pandemic was hard, the system is a rock.
Those of Us in between beg for charges. Instead, we’re fed shock.
We’re told that every vote counts, but you’re counting more on the ‘where’ than the ‘who’.
So the campaigns become more strategic than genuine, and more “I’m here” than “I’m here for you.”
When we pointed out rules that you were breaking you reported Us to the law.
By you, we’re gunned down when we run. By them, we’re run over when we stand tall.
A wrong address, and you shoot Us in our bed.
A wrong dream, and you shoot Us in the head.
They’re “our buildings” when they are destroyed, but don’t belong to Us when they’re intact.
That is, aside from those of Us in the ghettos, given hammers but no nails. Expectations, but no education, expected to be perfect when we act.
So for those of Us whom this reaches. For those questioning “what can I do?”
Either with my words or your own, you can start by finding someone who will listen to you.
Let me end this by reminding you that my “Us” is not solely Black.
Hopefully now you understand just how wrong it is that I needed to point out that fact.