My roommate and I rode our bicycles to the Goodwill on Figueroa this evening. We were two black women together on the street. I wouldn’t have said that of us any other day. Any other day, we’d just be two students. Not tonight. Tonight, our identities are skin deep. Tonight is one of those dark hours in American history that divide us.
I mourn for Ferguson. Maybe you can’t understand how pain can be shared by an entire race across the nation, spanning thousands of miles like a plague. That’s okay. You don’t have to understand. However, it would be in your best interest to try. My first message is to you.
The anger you will witness tonight and in the days to come — the rage and disappointment the media will shamelessly magnify — is not some new revelation. It finds its roots in decades (centuries, in fact) of deaths, in thousands of unfair trials, and in deep, deep pain. We don’t know all of what happened those months ago in Ferguson. Neither does the Grand Jury. There are two sides to every story, and the one side that could possibly clarify the truth is that of a dead man. Before you jump to unwarranted conclusions and call my people and their fury biased and unjustified, consider that today’s verdict is based on a fragmented story; their anger is fed by crystal-clear American history.
The second message is to my people, and it is not what many of you want to hear.
Do not be the violent fools they think you are. Do not answer wrongdoing with wrongdoing. If one cop is killed in retaliation, if just one innocent life is lost tonight because of our lack of restraint, then we have made true criminals of ourselves, and we are no better in nature than anyone who’s ever murdered our children.
I don’t think I’ll sleep tonight. Tomorrow, perhaps the day after, I’ll be just a woman again.
But tonight, I am black.
Tonight, I am angry.
Freshman, film and television production