All my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay
Oh, so suddenly
I’m not half the girl I used to be
No, no, no
There’s a shadow hanging over me
Now I long
A holiday weekend at home.
A road trip, followed by a work training, followed by a movie.
Caught up with stuff. Work stuff. Family stuff. Life stuff.
Busy and blissfully unaware.
And then tonight I had a free moment and popped onto Twitter. I saw a hashtag trending. It was a name. A man’s name. Possibly a black man’s name.
And I knew.
It took me all of five seconds to confirm what my rapidly beating heart had already figured out. Dead? Check. Skin like mine? Check. Police involved? Check. Excessive force? Check. Character defamation/victim blaming? Check. Racist trolls on social media having fun at the expense of the death of a human being? Check. Whitesplaining and “not all cops” rhetoric galore? Check.
I have not yet had the opportunity to learn much about Alton Sterling, the man. Only quick snippets. But I know enough about #AltonSterling the hashtag to know that America has not listened. America has not learned. America has not changed.
Don’t tell me a d@mn thing about how I should be grateful to have a black man (that y’all DIDN’T want) in the White House if I can’t have assurance that my black sons will make it home alive to MY house.
Serve and protect. I’m autistic; those are very stimmy words. They sound very – I don’t know, authentic? rolling around in my head. Maybe that’s why the term is so frequently used? Serve and protect. Serve and protect. Serveandprotectserveandprotectserveandprotect?
Who served and protected Jordan Baker?
Who served and protected Dontrae Hamilton?
Who served and protected David Levi Denham?
Who served and protected Sandra Bland?
Who served and protected Tamir Rice?
Who served and protected Mya Hall?
Who served and protected Aiyanna Jones?
Who served and protected #AltonSterling?
I’m angry at myself for being lulled into this. “This” being the false sense of security caused by being caught up. By everyday things. Like ice cream and hugs; earplugs and fireworks; movies and mommy time. Not that it wasn’t real. But it’s only partial reality. The other part, the hashtags and death reality – is always there too. Lingering. Waiting. It might fade into the background, but it will never really go away.
Just when you feel like you’ve scrubbed its stench off of your body; just when you think you’ve bathed yourself in enough hard-fought, hard-earned almost middle class-ness; just when you’ve kicked and screamed and pushed and pulled to grasp a sliver of dignity, of control, of respectability-ness and white people and abled people almost see you as a person.
You get reminded.
Put back in your place.
And you realize
That it very well might be
That the only, only thing
That differentiates you
Or differentiates your son, your daughter, etc
From the list of people above
Is simply time.