We #Forgot — Now You Have Three Options
Do you remember how you felt on 9/11? Undoubtedly, you were overwhelmed with rage and loss. Your community, your people, had been mercilessly and barbarically slaughtered.
But while you grieved, those around you grieved with you. They understood that your pain was immeasurable, that it would impact your ability to focus, that you might at times break down and cry or yell or both; they understood you might withdraw, become numb, lash out, or sit in silence.
You were permitted to process your trauma in whatever way you needed to; you were allowed to seek comfort in the arms of your fellow Americans. The world validated your pain and legitimized your healing process. You were comforted by the unity that emerged from the ashes.
I need to make it abundantly clear that while I aim to make a bold comparison as I ask you to reflect on this tragedy, my position in no way undermines or disparages the solemn memory of those who were killed, or the loss experienced by those directly impacted by the worst attack this country has ever seen. Rather, I assert this discussion honors their memory, and is a defiant but sincere form of patriotism.
There is among us a community that faces unimaginable loss every single day, and they are never allowed to mourn, and they are never allowed to be overcome with righteous indignation for the injustices levied against them. There is a community that, with its hands raised in the air, is routinely and systematically harassed, assaulted, and killed by the people who have sworn to protect and serve them. There is a community whose grief is ignored and stifled. There is a community that is seen as a threat despite most often being a casualty.
I am of the persuasion that the black community suffers 9/11 proportion devastation on a daily basis without ever being afforded the opportunity to fully process the weight of their loss, and while they are disregarded in their mourning, they are consequently denigrated for feeling pain that was never their fault to begin with.
Another man died this week because we haven’t learned anything in 15 years. Another man died this week with his hands in the air while he pleaded for his life because we forgot how we felt on 9/11. We forgot that we were unified. We forgot that prejudice isn’t just undesirable, it’s fucking fatal.
At this point, you sure as hell should be feeling uncomfortable, and I suspect it would be in one of two ways: you are either uncomfortable because you think what I’ve just said is un-American, or you are uncomfortable because you you realize that I’m right, and the status quo is not okay. If it is the former, I unfortunately have no intention of comforting you, because your fragility is not my problem.
I maintain that the current crisis of systematic racism, police brutality, and willful indifference is the result of America breaking its promise to #NeverForget, because if we remembered the lives lost at the hands of hate, we would’ve worked a whole lot harder to eradicate our prejudices. If we remembered how we felt in the wake of terror we would demonstrate greater empathy for communities who are subjected to executions.
If you are uncomfortable, your options are to take a knee, raise a fist, or shut the fuck up, because this is not your pain and you don’t get to change the subject.