Dear Pissed-Off White People and the Black and Brown People Who Love Them

Son of Baldwin
Jul 26, 2017 · 7 min read
[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Zachary Hammond is seen from the shoulder up, wearing a Davey Crockett fur hat with a raccoon tail, looking at the camera, hand to chin.]

“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.”

― Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography

My essay “I Don’t Give a Fuck About Justine Damond” really got a lot of folks way up in the Mount Everest of their feelings.


However, what’s lacking from so many of the comments from most of the angry, offended white people (and the black and brown people who love them) is their contending with the fact that most white people support police officers when they kill black people in identical situations as Justine Damond and look for ways — any ways at all, from “Well, she yelled!” to “Well, he made a furtive move!” — to make it the fault of the deceased.

The lack of any mention and the minimization of Aiyana Stanley-Jones and Bettie Jones is also quite telling — as though the both of them were, quite literally, beside the point.

They keep saying, “But I care when black people are killed by police!” when they know that’s a lie that they made up on the spot so as not to appear hypocritical while criticizing me for daring to give them a taste of their own medicine.

They keep saying, “You hate white people! You hate Justine Damond! You wanted her to die! You’re glad she’s dead!” and I have to wonder where they’re getting that from. I never said any of those things and not a single one of those things is true.

I simply said that I didn’t give a fuck that the police officer killed her because my heart is already full to capacity for all of the dead black people killed by police that most white people said deserved what they got and supported the police in all of those situations.

That they are claiming that means that I hate Justine, or them, and wanted her dead is just them projecting their own feelings, what they feel about black people in Justine’s situation, onto me — unintentionally revealing who and what they really are.

And then they’re saying in response: “Oh yeah? Well…well…I don’t give a fuck about black people who die at the hands of police then!” like that isn’t the pure definition of redundant. Like, they seem to have no clue that: 1. They don’t have to say it aloud because they already been doing it for centuries; 2. They been saying it since Day One; and 3. It isn’t even that they have apathy for black people; they have antipathy for black people — which means they should feel fortunate that all I’m expressing and recommending is apathy.

Others are like, “Well, then, you know what? I’m not gonna be your ally anymore! You’re not a nice person! I know black people are dying at the hands of police and I know that I only started caring about police killing people because a pretty, thin, non-disabled blonde white lady died this time and the cop who killed her wasn’t white or Christian, but I still expect you to treat me better than I treated you in identical situations because I am your superior, you’re supposed to obey the Christian morality doctrine forced upon your ancestors at the end of the whip, loop of the noose, and tip of the dick, and if you don’t, then you’re The Real Racist! ® Take that!”

And the black/brown people who love them are like, “White Jesus said love your enemy, be the bigger person even if they cut off your legs from the knee, being human means loving those who would do the opposite to you, why you want to take your frustrations out on this nice white lady?, I had heard she was good to Coloreds, false equivalence dictates that I say that in a white supremacy, black apathy is equal to white apathy/antipathy and that white people’s hurt feelings require our nurturing, and you’re making things worse for the whole plantation by not bowing before the deceased Mistress even though our own children were strung up and lynch-postcard posed by the people demanding empathy and fealty. This life be over soon; heaven last always!”

And they are unaware of the frightening pathologies that allow them to believe that these are reasonable, humane expectations, or that it’s anything other than foolhardy to care for the people who have been killing you for centuries. I’ve nothing personal against Justine Damond. Damond is symbolic, though, and a indicator for the white pathologies at play in a white surpemacist nation. I am rejecting any allegiance to the idea that I should mourn for a people who have a demonstrated, documented history of colluding with the system they claim they aren’t the engine of.

When you finally realize that you’re no longer going to go along with this unsanitary game they’ve been playing, they attempt to gaslight you by telling you that you’re only imagining that what you witnessed is what you witnessed.

Their slurs and insults don’t hurt me at all. But their inability to comprehend or understand context, subtext, history, analogy, or the written word — or worse, their uninformed reactions (and you can always tell when someone didn’t read an essay in its entirety because their responses are always simplistic and lack rigor) — are as appalling, shameful, and repugnant as they are offensive; undeserving of response, but I’m feeling charitable. 😊

If there’s anything I learned from all of this luxurious hate and bitter outrage coming out of the mouths, radiating off the noggins, and blasting out of the fingers of these folks is this:

I’m very much onto something with black apathy as radical opposition to their toxic ecology. And I believe it may be a key to liberation.

The more they hate, the more they spew venom, the more they threaten violence, the more they rage, the more I know that it’s really just fear at the core. And what they are afraid of is black folks knowing. Knowing what? What they have been secreting since the First Encounter: We don’t need them, but they, confoundingly, need us.

Their reactions are confirmation that I am on the right track.

My apathy is not reckless; it is earned.

And it’s not like I didn’t warn them years ago:

From October 2015:

Dear White Folk:

Regarding the newly released video of Officer Mark Tiller of the Seneca Police Department murdering 19-year-old Zachary Hammond in cold blood–a video that reveals that the officer straight-up lied when he said Hammond tried to run him over with his vehicle, a video that shows that Tiller shot Hammond to death on the spot, acted as judge, jury, and executioner in an attempt to keep Hammond from escaping, a video that makes clear that the officer’s life was never in danger, but the cop will still not be charged:

Please know that these wretched creatures that we call “police” are the beasts of your own creation.

You have allowed them–and more than allowed them, ENCOURAGED them–to practice their killer instincts on marginalized peoples since the dawning of the country.

You rigged juries, paid off judges, conspired with attorneys, ignored evidence, made excuses, played gotcha games, manufactured criminality, blamed the victim, formed coalitions of destruction, gave weapons to gangsters, and when your plantations were taken away, you constructed prisons–all for the sole purpose of turning other people into sustenance. And like any parasite, your appetites never seem satiated.

But you made one colossal misjudgment:

You imagined that you would be forever immune from the chaos you unleashed. However, that isn’t how the universe works.

The force of self-deception is strong within you and that’s why only you are shocked when murder visits your town. But even in the days of your Genesis, the terrorist has always returned to its home. Your forebear Cain makes this invariably clear.

And so you mustn’t be surprised when the unthinking sentinels you sent out into the world to destroy people can’t distinguish between your children and ours. All they know is their programming, which was written by your own hand:

“There are lights out there, bright lights, that must be extinguished.”

This is why Zachary Hammond is dead: Because you cheered instead of jeered when Michael Brown, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, and all the others were wiped away. You laughed because you didn’t realize there was a price attached to your glee.

And the price is greater than you imagined because if there is an afterlife, which you better hope there isn’t, it is your children who will never find peace there. How could they ever fly free as chained as they are to your perpetual sins of pride, wrath, and gluttony? Ghosts, all of your offspring, wailing in the wind and you cover your face in pretense, erecting meaningless memorials in their names, worshiping, always, your own sorrow, but never the means to prevent it.

Poor Zachary. His family will never see justice because the cop who shot him has the great fortune of being white. Had the cop been black or brown, the family might have a chance in hell of rallying other white people and having the support of the State.

So many wise people have said this before me, but I repeat it here again, surely to no avail:

What happens to us is merely a precursor of what will happen to you.

Your complicity today is your slaughter tomorrow.

You didn’t believe it then and you don’t believe it now.

But on your tombstones it will read “death by suicide” nevertheless.

P.S. Black Lives Matter were the only people who protested Hammond’s death, even after Hammond’s parents blamed Black Lives Matter for the situation not receiving much media attention. “Blue Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” were eerily, but revealingly, silent.

Son of Baldwin

Author of the upcoming novel THE PROPHETS from Putnam Books. Coming in 2021.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade