I used to shoplift. For fun. And to get a thrill and pretend I was a bad girl. I stole A LOT. I grew out of it. I never would have had the chance to grow out of it if I’d been shot 12 times. But that wasn’t my experience. I was a young, pretty white girl. My experience is that after I was arrested, they called my dad and inappropriately flirted with me for 3 hours (I was 14) until he got there. I was released without so much as a slap on the wrist. And I think I was grounded for two weeks. There is no record of it, except for this testimony, which I wouldn’t be able to give you if I’d been shot 12 times.
I have 5 black nephews growing up in Alabama. Would they get the same treatment as I for a similar crime? No. They wouldn’t. I’m scared for them. I’m scared for my beautiful friends who have and will again be racially profiled. I pray that when they do, because it is inevitable in this society that it will occur again, that everyone has cool heads and no one is hurt.
A young black man followed me home tonight, asked to be let into my gate, and when I refused, he stayed out there for 20 more minutes before he left. I was afraid. He has been there before. And of course I would’ve been afraid if a white man had done this too. But, I saw a black man walking towards me at 1:30am and I was afraid of that black man. Part of it was his color. A big part. I thought about the Ferguson outcome, and that maybe it wasn’t safe for me to be outside right now.
This is coming from a girl who was Vice President of her Minority Club in college, the Silhouettes. This is coming from a girl who sang in a black gospel choir, who wanted to join AKA, who has black relatives, who has just as many black friends as white. Some of them best friends. This came from a girl who sobbed when President Obama became President because of what that meant for equality. This came from a girl who believes and champions art that celebrates minorities and prefers it.
I am liberal and progressive and a feminist and I fight injustice AND I am a racist. I don’t want to be, but I am. I fight it viciously every day, but I still am. I have been raised by America to fear black men. And I do. And if I’m a racist, just think about all the people that aren’t fighting it. Think of all the people that are embracing it.
I am saddened beyond belief at the outcome of Ferguson. I do know this though, it does not take 12 bullets to take somebody down. It does not. Especially, with a trained shooter. That shows aggressiveness, fear, and possibly psychosis. This is a travesty.
My friends, I don’t know what to do. I am saddened beyond belief. I am sad for Ferguson and I am sad for our country. She’s better than this.
Sorry for the break from theater and adventures on the road, but I needed to say this.