i can’t afford your oblivion.
This summer was red.
Ten years from now, when I recall the summer of my daughter’s first birthday, I won’t remember her smash cake. I’ll remember the Virginia state trooper who pulled me over on my way back to Brooklyn the same night Philando Castile was murdered in front of his family by a police officer in Minnesota. I’ll remember how long that trooper made me wait in the dark with Gabrielle and Theodora, as red, white and blue lights flashed violently against our Subaru.
This summer, we lost Tawon Boyd. Keith Lamont Scott. Terence Crutcher. Tyre King. Skye Mockabee. Korryn Gaines. Alton Sterling. We lost hundreds. And yet, this summer was no redder than last summer. Or the summer of 2014. We are the survivors of a political and protracted siege on black life.
It takes a perverse strain of barbarism to execute a child in the street. It takes similar barbarism to blame that dead child for his own demise. Yet here we are in this land of the free.
If you are reading this and you have chosen to remain insulated against and oblivious to the state-sanctioned murders of black people around you, please recognize that you are exercising a unique privilege to which we have zero access. Police brutality is a mere thread in America’s fugly tapestry of anti-blackness, and we are forced to stare at the entire massapiece every day we persist in living.
If you aren’t upset, you are a part of the problem. If you’re ignoring this violence, you are an accomplice in it. And if you aren’t exhausted and scared and in a rage all the time, you’re probably not black.
Because we have literal skin in this game and we cannot afford your oblivion.