So, NGL, YOU:
Between the murder of Stephon Clark and the putting-down of that rabid piece of shit Austin Bomber, I’ve not been having an easy time tolerating wypipo this week. Never mind taking them/appreciating them on an individual basis. The evils wrought by the barely-melanated and their ancestors is not something I’ve been swallowing well or at all since Charlottesville woke my Uncle Tom-ass up a bit, last year.
But this week has been . . . deep. I couldn’t climb out from under my rage and misery — my railing at the fact that part of my own species, which differs from the rest only in skin color, and hair texture and general facial features, so hates and disregards and invalidates the lives of every other part of the species that doesn’t closely resemble them.
Like some sort of stupid, territorial pigeons, pecking to death any parrot or swallow or raven that wanders into their midst.
Today, I’d finally started getting clawing my optimistic way out of the “How in the hell does anyone trust the average wypipo in America (Canada, England, wherever they may proliferate)?” funk. Only to get kicked in the face, and go sliding back into the pit by YOU.
A friend bought me lunch at a local diner in Ulster County, NY, near the Department of Social Services (VERY NEAR . . . a place for royalty, indeed) and YOU, our server, were a tall drink of milk, early twenties. Personable, gave me extra pickles when I complimented the pickles. Funny, clever, all that entertaining shit. I urged my friend to tip YOU well. I was looking forward to my next dining experience there and hoped I’d get YOU as a server, or someone else as funny and chill.
My friend and I are about to leave, and my friend decides to hit the Ladies’ before we go. I zone out, playing on my phone while waiting for her to come back. From the direction of the bar, I hear a familiar voice say: “Well, if he was innocent, why’d he run, though?”
So, of course, I think immediately about the very recent murder of Stephon Clark — basically what I’ve been thinking about since it happened, and buried under it and how trying to get wypipo-America to care and understand and value Black lives and Black bodies is utterly fucking pointless from a numbers standpoint — and I sigh and glance over toward the diner’s bar.
There are two people there, at 3:30pm: the bartender, who’s Black, and YOU, our server. The bartender’s setting up the bar for the post-work crowd and YOU are eating your lunch. You’re both watching the TV above the bar. It’s Generic Cable New Channel Number 1, and sure enough . . . there’s poor, murdered Stephon Clark’s face.
That sinking feeling I’m experiencing turns into lead. Not even fire, anymore, like it would have immediately post-Charlottesville. Just . . . lead.
“Yeah, well, you run from cops, that’s what happens,” YOU, our server say confidently, and without doubt or compassion. Or worry for what that trite little soundbite says about American cops and American Americans.
The Black bartender murmurs something that sounds like: “What? The cops don’t use tasers, no more?”
YOU, our server don’t immediately reply, and if YOU ever do, I don’t hear it. I’ve tuned the fuck out because I suddenly hate YOU— HATE YOU ALL — with the same depth and rage and despair that’s overtaken my life since Charlottesville. But with especial ferocity since I first heard about Stephon Clark’s murder. I hate YOU from the neo-Nazi scum-fucks with their tiki torches, to the ones who sit silent and don’t speak out, to the ones who wallow in the ignorant bliss and assurance of their fucking privilege. Then act offended when one points out that not having to fear for one’s life at the hands of pigs-monsters with guns is a thing that ONLY WYPIPO experience, good, bad, or in-between. In America, the only ones who are innocent until proven guilty are well-off wypipo . . . norm-fitting wypipo-women to a lesser extent.
And know, THIS IS A PRIVILEGE. If YOUR skin COLOR means you are less likely to die at the hands of cops or anyone with a gun, then that is a PRIVILEGE THAT YOU HAVE, which some other segment of the citizenry DOES NOT HAVE. At least not in nearly the same measure. Because PRIVILEGES ARE EXCLUSIONARY BY DEFINITION. IF YOU HAVE ONE, THAT MEANS SOMEONE ELSE DOESN’T. HENCE, IT IS A PRIVILEGE.
Neither YOUR Black “Friend”/Bartending-Coworker, nor I, have to explain this or anything to YOU or guide YOU through OUR reality. YOU are a grown-ass, motherfucking, tax-paying ADULT. YOU have fucking Google. If YOU want to know ANYTHING, YOU can find it out. If YOU wanna find Furry porn involving an Old Skool pro-Dom polar bear and an masochistic sub alligator having fun-times with a double-headed vibrator, YOU can probably find it in less than a minute. Markedly less. So, if YOU want real numbers and anecdotes and history . . . it’s out there. Don’t befriend me as a shortcut to that. Or to prove to YOURself that YOU are woke, and can “jive” with The Blacks. Don’t act like a friend or ally, when YOU are really just another fucking shit-bird who thinks Black men should die for being afraid of a gang of racist, white cops with guns — not at all out of left field, in light of ALL OF HISTORY EVER — and panicking enough to run.
Don’t act like the death penalty for ALLEGEDLY destroying the private property of others is something YOU would allow to happen for someone who wasn’t Black. Or Hispanic.
I’m not so glad, anymore, that my friend tipped so well. But then, I’m also glad that BLACK PEOPLE’S generosity isn’t conditional and easy to blow down. We know struggle and don’t add a burden to the shoulders of others. We know what it is to live on crumbs and how nice an unexpected windfall can be. I don’t wish YOU ill, ignorant little swine that YOU are, nor do I truly hate YOU and everyone else who looks like YOU. I never have and never will. I’m not built to hate and hate and hate without burning the fuck up and burning the fuck out. This, I know from long experience. Though, if YOU stopped existing — along with everyone who thinks and acts like YOU— I’ll allow that I’d smile pretty big for a few decades. And there might be insane amounts of snickering.
Mostly, I wonder if the Black bartender — whose every experience-based, time-tested low expectation YOU confirmed— is thinking and feeling the same when I glance back toward the bar. Then I realize: OF COURSE, he is. He’s a Black man in America! One who isn’t hitching his star to some Conservative Movement, or other! OF COURSE, he does!
My moment of seething hatred and nadir-less bigotry has passed, leaving me hollow, ashen, and lost, once more. I’m once again here, in the depths of my despair that anything will ever change. It won’t, of course. Not in my lifetime or YOURS, waiter-swine, not that YOU even care. But the sheer bemusement and incredulity that I feel at YOUR unmitigated GALL in saying to the face of a Black man who YOU knew was unlikely to agree with you and also have strongly opposite feelings on the matter was almost a breath of fresh air. That depth and level of willful ignorance and lacking empathy is mesmerizing, up close. And that YOU spewed this tactless, ignorant, inconsiderate, hurtful mere days after this latest cop-lead murder of another — ANOTHER — unarmed Black man, this one on his own property, and apparently for HCWBB (Holding a Cellphone While Being Black) . . . that’s just ballsy as fuck. That’s the kinda ass-showing of which the gorillas at any zoo would be jealous.
And YOU don’t even notice that the bartender’s gaze locks with mine over YOUR shoulder. I merely nod and shrug. He lifts his brows a little. We each know what’s up. It is what it is. Nothing more needs to be said or exchanged. We each know this is just another goddamned day-ending-in-Y of being Black, and even just “not white” in ‘Murrica. And ON EARTH. With many more to come, for those of us who survive the efforts of the ‘Murrican Gov’mint: from the highest office in the land, to the newest probie-cop on the “urban” beat.
My mother thinks that racism is a white-wide ignorance and lack of thought/care that can be solved with education and patience. That it’s every Black person’s/PoC’s lot to be an ambassador to PoC Reality — or, REALITY . . . as it’s called by more than two-thirds of Planet Earth — to poor, clueless wypipo. I however, have grown beyond that. Not bigger or better or smarter, just colder and sour and deeply fatalistic. I don’t care what YOU understand or think or do, because no matter what it is, YOU are benefitting from, if not contributing to the oppression of people who look not-like-YOU. But especially those not-like-YOUs who are dark-as-me.
I’m not your fucking teacher.
I’m not your magical Negro.
I’m not your token, either.
And I’m not one of “the good ones.”
I am not “safe.”
I have lived the life of someone with MY dark-ass skin for thirty-eight years. I have learned to hide in plain sight, code-switch the way I speak, and move among YOU in camouflage and white-face as if my life depended on it. Because it probably does, more often than even I know.
I live knowing that if some bored-angry white cop decides this is what needs to happen, I will die in a hail of gunfire, while holding a cellphone or iced tea or my fucking inhaler, all of which are easily mistaken for guns.
I live knowing that my country is doing its damnedest to wipe me the fuck out. Me, and everyone who looks like me. And that most of the people who look like YOU aren’t doing motherfucking SHIT to stop it. Not even lip-service “thoughts and prayers.”
I live that, I know that, and YOU should know that I AM NOT SAFE. Not a goddamned one of us are: not safe from YOU or to YOU. And YOU are smart to keep us down, and away from YOUR power and privilege and opportunities. Frankly, I would, too, if I was in YOUR shoes. One doesn’t treat hundreds of millions of people like shit over hundreds of years, promising little but more of the same in the years ahead, then allow them to be full citizens in offending — supposed — republic. The time to offer justice as a resolution is quickly passing. It may not be long, at all, before the cries turn from “RIGHT THIS WRONG!”, to “WE WILL GET EVEN.” And bear in mind the longer you push back against inevitable retribution — which is what it will become if we can’t get JUSTICE — the worse it will be for everyone.
One of YOUR most lauded politicians and moral authorities — slave-raper/impregnator and former president, Thomas Jefferson — claimed that one couldn’t hold the wolf by the ears forever. He was speaking about slavery. Even such a “man of his time and era,” knew that there would have to be a reckoning, some bleak, bloody day. And he knew: the longer one holds the wolf down and back, the hungrier, angrier, and meaner it gets.
I am not safe. WE ARE NOT SAFE. In every sense of the phrase, NO ONE IS SAFE.
And that includes YOU.