On Ferguson - Who Will Survive in America?
https://twitter.com/lilduval/status/537079225493495808 After learning the unsurprising news that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted by a grand jury, my plan was to go to sleep. I expressed my disappointment with the masses via social media and that would be that, right?
Comedian Lil Duval has a way of succinctly summing things up.
The truth is regardless of how you feel about the verdict, this is a another moment embedded in our country's social psyche. It's a wound for many and a victory for others. The moment matters. So I decided to simply sit at the keyboard and type. It's the least an uninvolved person on the outskirts can do - express my sentiments. Simply say how I feel.
The real national tragedy, other than the loss of life and the suffering of the Brown family, is that the decision in Ferguson is truly of no surprise - to almost anyone.
Is that not the true American shame? That this treatment of a people in the supposed greatest country on Earth is an expected outcome? Or is it just me?
Sure, this country, and countless others are built on the backs of the suffering oppressed, but when are we going to stop fooling ourselves that this is not our country's legacy? Black men aren't the first, and they won't be the last to be devalued and discarded in our society. We're just now getting the attention - and still destroying our own communities while doing so. It seems many of us don't value ourselves enough to demand being treated as valuable citizens. Who's fault is that? That's a whole other topic for another day.
I do not believe for one minute it was all Mike Brown's fault for being murdered - nor do I believe he was totally without fault. I also believe Darren Wilson made a calculated, albeit very quick decision to pull that trigger multiple times full well knowing that odds were always in his favor.
But who am I? I'm just another asshole with an opinion who was not present and has no direct access to any of the evidence.
I don't know where we go from here. I don't know what we do from here. I don't know who to talk to, what words to write, goals to rally around, or even if it makes any difference when I push 'publish' on this piece. I don't think anyone really knows. Even President Obama simply stated that he would have his outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder to continue working with law enforcement around the nation to come up with better solutions.
WTF? Really, son?
If President Obama has proved anything at all to anyone paying attention over the prior two terms, it should be that he is not Super Savior Negro come to fix things up for you - or the country. This fact takes nothing away from his other accomplishments, but once again, that's a post for another day. The point is, he is not going to save us.
I keep coming back to Gil Scott Heron's repeated prophetic inquiry - "Who will survive in America? Who will survive in America?"
This is a country built on capitalism, on suffering, on repression, on the brutal yielding of power, on economic Darwinism disguised as free market opportunity.
It's also built on hope, ingenuity, calculated opportunity, and in the age of the Internet - pure self-expression.
We struggle to find the balance between these planes of national existence, and I'm unsure where the battle heads tomorrow.
As passionate as we feel tonight, we may just as passionately rail against Kim Kardashian's decision to do with her body as she sees fit tomorrow. And we will swear the atrocities deserve the same amount of social media attention.
Why don't social events such as Ferguson #breaktheinternet? Guess there's not enough ass to spread around. There is certainly enough shit though.
Black America holds more power than we care to truly acknowledge. Let's not forget where the true power in this country comes from - money - spending power. We vote every single day with our dollar and our time.
Think about the price-tag of $1.1 trillion dollars.
If we were talking about countries, that would be the 16th biggest economy in the world, but it's not a country, it's the combined buying power of a group of people who are part of this country: African-Americans.
A recent study by the Nielsen Company predicts that African-American buying power will hit that $1.1 trillion number next year . "The black population is young, hip and highly influential. We are growing 64 percent faster than the general market," says Cheryl Pearson McNeil, a senior vice president at Nielsen.
- David Lazaras via marketplace.org
I'm not mentioning this to tell you to go buy or not buy something. I'm telling you this simply for awareness sake. We're still out here looting and rioting the very businesses that give us our power as a community.
Niggas still don't know how to act.
We have to smarten up. We have to realize how we're viewed and why it matters. We have to realize our potential impact in all things - economically, socially, culturally, and most importantly - individually. What impact can we have as an individual? And what can that impact mean when those voices and goals come together as a community?
Once again, I don't know what to do. But I do know that all true change starts with awareness - mindfulness.
I don't know what to do - so I sit here, and I write - aimlessly.
And tomorrow, I will wake and continue to build my businesses - and I will continue to empower those around me to get their money up - and I will continue to encourage those who will listen to speak up when they feel the need to - and I will continue to do my best to follow my own advice - and I will continue to raise my son into a person who won't feel the need to be so afraid of authority - because, what else am I to do?
I just want to survive in America in the time of Ferguson.
I'm not sure what that means.
However, I do know that in modern day America, without money to power your voice, you might as well be screaming into a black hole.
Or get shot while unarmed - and not even that guarantees you much except a spot among the many silenced voices.