We all know the drill by now. Black man gets shot, we march and riot, the media makes us all look crazy, politicians give some vague message about unity and it all goes away until the next black man gets shot and we start over again.
Each time that this cycle happens each of us has to encounter pundits, commentators, co-workers, classmates or even friends and families who have stupid questions and comments:
“We shouldn’t jump to conclusions.”
“Why don’t we wait until all of the facts are in.”
“Protesting isn’t effective; you should find another way to get your point across.”
“What about Black on Black crime?”
And with tears in your eyes, voice cracking under the stress and pain you try to explain to them the fear. The fear that you could be next. That your child could be next. That your father could be next. And that regardless of the particular details of the instant case you want something to change fundamentally in this nation so that it stops happening.
You don’t hate the police, you don’t hate the military and you don’t hate America.
But you do hate the way that America is treating your brothers and sisters and the fact that you are being treated as if you are crazy for wanting change.
Yet despite your passion, despite your reasonableness, despite your statistics and facts, the people you are talking to can never seem to feel your pain.
There is always another reason that it happened. There are always excuses. The media will roll out Ray Lewis or Lil Wayne or Cam Newton in a Top Hat to tell you that racism is not real and that there are other things to worry about. And after days, weeks and hours you begin to wonder if you should believe them or your lying eyes.
But this cycle repeats without anyone talking about actual solutions or even addressing the legitimacy of your pain.
So what you need to do is stop! Stop trying to explain your pain. Stop trying to convince people of your reality because if by now they do not believe what they are seeing then they will never believe what they are seeing because they do not want to believe it.
Stop wasting your time making emotional Facebook posts, recording YouTube videos and retweeting memes in hopes of swaying the masses. You do not have a responsibility to do so and it will ultimately fall on deaf ears.
The people that you need to convince are down at city hall. They are at the State House and at the White House. Convincing Helen in accounting that #TerenceCrutcher #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile did not deserve to die will not change one thing in the grand scheme of things.
Getting your neighbor Jim to not burn his #ColinKaepernick jersey will not stop the next police killing. But convincing your congressman that we need comprehensive federal legislation to protect the lives of all citizens equally will.
Making sure that your local district attorney and police chief understand that these people need to be arrested, charged and prosecuted instead of being put on paid leave will change things. Making sure that the President of the United States of America understands that the 93% of the black vote that he received in his last election was conditioned on him taking a stand to protect our communities and if he is personally insulted by anything it should be that this continues to happen on his watch.
The black community is not a crying baby or temperamental teen. We do not need to blow off any steam or come together to “talk” about these issues any longer. We need the people we elect to act as if they give a darn and give us real solutions just as they would any other community.
So do not spend time trying to explain your pain, trying to articulate your grief or yelling at the television when someone says #AllLivesMatter instead of #BlackLivesMatter.
We have to make sure that #BlackVotesMatter, that we a receive a return on our investment and that those in power do something instead of just treating us like political chumps.