18-year-old Michael Brown was gunned down on Saturday by a Ferguson police officer in St. Louis. Witnesses say Brown had his hands in the air as he was shot from 35 feet away.
As a black person in America, it's getting exhausting to still have to explain, in the year 2014, your right to exist in this country. To explain that you are a human being whose value sits no lower than anyone else's. To explain our basic humanity. And perhaps worst of all, to explain exactly why we are outraged.
We shouldn't have to explain why it's not acceptable for unarmed teenagers to be gunned down by the police.
We shouldn't have to explain why even though Mike Brown's life didn't matter to you or a Ferguson police officer, it mattered to someone.
We shouldn't have to explain that the clothes we wear don't protect us against, or make us more susceptible to, violence. Four little girls were bombed in their church dresses and Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down in a suit and tie.
We shouldn't have to explain that the right to due process—that which was not afforded to Mike Brown—is in the Constitution of the United States of America. In fact, it's in there twice.
We shouldn't have to explain why the correct response to these tragedies is not, "but what about black on black crime?" 84 percent of white people killed every year are killed by other whites and no one ever attempts to undermine any of the senseless violence they suffer.
We shouldn't have to explain that the punishment for even the most heinous crimes in our country is not a public execution without a trial.
We shouldn't have to explain why we don't trust cops when a number of eyewitnesses tell a consistent and vastly different story than that of the police officer who murdered Mike Brown.
We shouldn't have to explain why we fight back when we are attacked.
We shouldn't have to explain why we deserve the same protections and rights afforded to every other citizen of America.
But maybe you can help with some other questions I have, because I am at a loss.
Can you explain why Mike Brown was gunned down in the street while James Eagan Holmes, who killed twelve people and injured 70 others after opening fire in a movie theater, was escorted into a squad car? Can you explain why Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is still alive but Mike Brown isn't? What about Jared Lee Loughner?
Can you explain why Mike Brown's body was left uncovered in the middle of the street for hours for any reason other than to send a message to his community?
Can you explain why a black man is killed by the police every 28 hours in this country?
Can you explain why media outlets reporting on his death used the photo of Mike Brown on the left instead of the right?
Can you explain why the Ferguson Police Department disproportionally searches black people while the contraband hit rate for white people is higher?
Can you explain the complete disregard for black life that resulted in the deaths of John Crawford, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tarika Wilson, Malcolm Ferguson, Renisha McBride, Amadou Diallo, Yvette Smith, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Kathryn Johnston and Rekia Boyd?
Can you explain why the police rolled up to a candlelight vigil in SWAT gear?
Better yet, can you explain any of that to Mike Brown's mother?
Explain all that and then explain to me why the hell we should be anything less than angry.
Images via Facebook; Top image: Lesley McSpadden, left, is comforted by her husband, Louis Head, after her 18-year-old son, Michael Brown was shot by police and killed in the middle of the street in Ferguson, Mo., near St. Louis on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. A spokesman with the St. Louis County Police Department, which is investigating the shooting at the request of the local department, confirmed a Ferguson police officer shot the man. The spokesman didn't give the reason for the shooting. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Huy Mach).