One day while shopping with one of my friends in high school, I discovered that she had a terrible habit of going into the dressing room at department stores and slipping the tags of designer clothes with clearance tags. The day I learned that I was completely shocked. We both came from privileged families and never wanted for anything. Stealing was not something that ever crossed my mind. After I figured out what she was doing I never shopped with her again because I knew if she were ever caught, I would be the natural suspect. Surely the cute little blonde girl in her brand new sports car wouldn't be the one stealing.
If she had been caught shoplifting no one would have ever called her a thug.
So here we are. I was scrolling through Facebook yesterday taking a mental writing break and came across this post. It pissed me off, made me sad, hurt, confused the hell out of me because my only resolve was to think "you wouldn't understand." The response I received after that was filled with even more vitriol.
"That was less of a statement and more of a fact. If you're going to rob a store and then assault a police officer, than you're a thug...period. If it walks like a thug, acts like a thug, and talks like a thug...then quack, it's a thug."
Pissed off. Sad. Hurt. Confused. What's left to say. She will never understand.
She'll never understand that at the age we met each other, I was smart enough to know that if me and one of my white friends were in the mall and my friend stole something, I'd most like get the blame. She'll never understand what it means to raise a little Black boy who may be called a "beast" just because of his skin and stature. She'll never know what it's like for little Black boy after little Black boy to be shot and killed in cold blooded murder and for their killers to get off without any consequence for the life they took because they were "scared" of our son's skin color. She'll never understand.
She'll never understand that her three little white boys will get a chance that our son's won't just because of the color of their skin. That should they be pulled over by a cop, they won't immediately become a threat just because of the color of their skin. She'll never understand what it's like to know that my little Black boy is 21% more likely to be killed than her little white boys. She'll never understand what it's like to have a White friend call Black boys a thug. Then throw it around as if it justifies them being murdered.
She'll never understand and she'll continue to justify her hurtful words without thinking twice of why it's not ok.
That's the world my little brown boy is growing up in.
I'm pissed off.
I'll leave you with this well articulated response to another person's misguided ignorance of the facts. http://benotafraidoffear.tumblr.com/post/103724293886/mike-brown-wasnt-some-innocent-child-he-was-a