He didn’t have to ask, but I suppose as one the most hated people in Black America currently, the white officer felt the need to try to win a table of Black folks in a Los Angeles Starbucks over to his side. “What’s a step in the right direction?” left his mouth with such ease and found its way, unwelcomed, into a conversation between friends; all who were now side-eyeing. “Damnit,” I thought, thinking we may have been talking too loud about the direction we wish the movement would shift. “We have to kill you,” came from my mouth just as easily, “then kill your partner and your captain and your dog.” He didn’t respond, just stood frozen, unsure if it was a threat since, after all, we were sitting at the high table, minding our own business, talking Evolution.
With his caramel macchiato in hand, he dashed for the door, moving through the parking lot like Yelene Lashmanova. I chuckled with my friends, secretly thinking he was headed for his patrol car to get his shotgun to come back in for me, turning Starbucks into a scene from Pulp Fiction. He drove away, and never returned, and I had to retell the story to our neighboring table who took it with the same grain of salt as the officer.
What’s the problem, though? I was serious. There is no shortage of prayer, and CNN and all the doppelgangers have yet to run out of those who love to hear themselves talk. Where are the rebellious ones? Where’s Nat? Toussaint? Where are the writers to change the narrative? Where are the producers and agents to make sure these writers are heard? Where are the so-called good cops to protect the good people who are ready to do something that may actually work? I’m loving the protesting, and the burning of cities, and I strongly encourage the continuation of it all, but I want more. I want to prove I was right to those students I told “there is no revolution without proper bloodshed.” I want President Barack Obama, the “weak apologist for tyranny,” to call the murderers what they are and stop providing a black face for white supremacy. I am not a thug, B.O., and what Minister Farrakhan said has probably fallen on deaf ears, so I hope their eyes read this:
You’ve ordered the death of all Black folks who are ready to fight the system you so proudly protect. The system that accidentally slipped its foot off our Black necks long enough for us to rise up and regain our voice. With my raspy voice, I say, “Fuck you,” with a not-so-sunny disposition.
Nate and Toussaint live in Baltimore, Detroit, LA, Oakland, Charlottesville, Miami, and Madison. They are everywhere, but until they know their sacrifices won’t be followed only by a “damn, them niggas crazy,” from the fools who only react when the cause pops up in Hip Hop, or from the fools who only show their faces and fists when the mistreatment involves them directly, Turner and L’Ouverture will blend into the crowd. “No sense in dying for a few double taps on Instagram,” I said. They agreed.
I wish the cop would have come back to finish the conversation. I’d tell him, “Because if we kill you and your boys in blue, we can at least get a conversation going. They will want to hear our stories then, and the why will be so important. When Omar Thornton told his mother, “I killed five racists,” I wanted to call those folks who invited me to Cuba and tell them we were winning. I wanted to head north to help him get out of that building alive. Quickly, I watched the news do their job, turning Thornton into a crazy Black man, and I watched everyone stop giving a shit. It was a sobering reminder of the time Officer Santiago and Mayor Golden of Daytona Beach, FL changed their story and there was nothing I could do.
Listen. I just want to have the conversation, and since we’ve exhausted all other possibilities, I’m simply offering another.
(photo taken by Darnell Lamont Walker in Ferguson. Not in an LA Starbucks)