Dear Ma (and anyone in America who gets this) –
I won’t be surprising you for Christmas as I’d planned. It’s not safe for me there. I’m afraid of cops, I’m afraid of white men, and I’m afraid of my reactions to racism these days. The be clear, I’ve always been afraid of my reaction to racism, but even more so now. I never told you about the white boy in Daytona who called me and my friends “nigger” when I was simply trying to save his life. I blacked out and when I came to, I was swinging a champagne bottle toward his face. You’d be surprised how often I think about that night and him. I think about the white girl who called me “nigger” on Atlantic Avenue, the white boy who called me, Cam, Nancy, Shay, and Mac “nigger” at that 7-11 in Alexandria, and the white cops who put the guns to me and Nancy’s head at Greyhound for no reason whatsoever.
Today, at the market, I couldn’t breathe. I sat on the bench, void of everything. Faces were blurred, laughs were antagonizing, and I was motionless, rubbing my left arm, hoping the tingle there was not a stroke. I took a Benadryl last night for a cough since it’s all the medicine I have, thanks to Vernon, and for a few moments I thought it may be the drowsiness lingering. It wasn’t. It was because I woke up this morning and read about Michael Slager and the one juror who refused to say he’s guilty.
They’ve been practicing racism so long, it’s perfect isn’t it? One juror is all it takes.
I shouldn’t have gone out but I had no one to stop me. I have projects around my place to finish. I have stories to write and a film to edit right away because It may save a life. I should have stayed home today.
Image me with no appetite. Imagine me going half a day without as much as a bowl of frosted mini wheats or raisin bran. That was me. On repeat, I meditated on the death of the juror and his entire bloodline. Of course it’s a man, and of course he’s white. He scares me. Perhaps this is his stand against the killing of white supremacy. “Long live white supremacy and the perfect system of impenetrable racism it’s built.” He probably whispered those words to himself in the mirror of the courthouse bathroom before walking back into the deliberation room to stand firm against convicting his brother who shot an unarmed Black man in the back 5 times while that Black man was running away. It was all caught on camera. Also the part where he placed his taser next to the body to make it seem like it was self-defense.
I beg you to never ask me to believe that America is not anti Black. It is. They are. America hates us, and I don’t think coming home for Christmas will work for me. Michael Slager has a fan in the jury booth and millions others waiting to put a Black man like me in the place in which he feels I belong. I’m too afraid I’d come just another Black body by a tree, strangely resembling fruit. Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.
Death cannot come for me unless (r)evolution is certain.
Can you imagine me going into some pharmacy, because it’s the only store open on Christmas day, to buy eggs and milk because I’ve been craving your macaroni and cheese, and I don’t make it home to bring you these things because a man, a white man, buying a last minute Christmas card for his children felt threatened when I told him to apologize to me for bumping into me? A similar thing happened to Rafael in the Harley Davidson store and I ended up standing on the counter and shutting the store down. I don’t want to die in 2016. James Means is gone and Christmas is still happening, isn’t it? His family will put up a tree and pray no ornaments fall from it to remind them of their son’s body hitting the ground. Black bodies have become ornamental, haven’t they?
Will they release the name of the juror? Perhaps a sketch or a photo at least. I want to wish death on him and his children like I prayed for the death of Johannes Mehserly. Don’t tell your people at your church, but that was the last time I prayed. Prayer does not work. If I thought you could handle losing a child, I’d be some martyr I think; a body found in some wreckage or rubble. You’re not supposed to lose your child. Black mothers must be tired of giving birth near a low-hanging sun to children made of wax and feathers.
I’m crying while writing you. I’ve been silent all day except for singing a piece of “Wonderwall” by Oasis in the back of the Uber on the way home from the market. I can’t come home, and I’m sorry. Perhaps you should consider coming this way.
Bring all your things.
“What is existence under perpetual threat,” Camonghne asked.