I am feeling weepy today. That is odd for me, because I am not a particularly emotional person, or someone you would describe as being in touch with their feelings. But today, during moments of pause as I deftly swing from one task to the next in my usual Monday routine, I have been wiping the tears out of my eyes.
It is August 18th and our country is in the middle of a news cycle that seems unprecedented to me. The headlines are almost surreal. There is an Ebola crisis in Africa. There is war going on in the Middle East. There is the hint of war in the Ukraine. Oh, yeah…we’re sending troops in the IRAQ again. Excuse me? Yeah, that’s what I said. In the middle of all of that, a small town in Missouri seems to be the epi-center of racial unrest after the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer. The kid died. He died because he was shot seven times after he was kneeling on the ground with his hands raised in the air. When this story first broke, I thought it was a continuation of the story from the week before when a New York man was choked to death by police officers. He too, was unarmed and trying to surrender by all accounts. This story, or a version of it, has been repeated so much lately that I almost didn’t notice it. Then someone set the city on fire. This small town just might be the straw that broke the camel’s back in this country. Young black men are dying.
I am almost relieved that I felt some kind of way about this tragedy, because it means that I have not become numb to the death that is pervasive in our society and our world. It means that I can still parse out the human tragedy and suffering in the midst of war and chaos all around me. I couldn’t put my finger on it until today. I came across some song lyrics from a rapper named J. Cole. It seems this young man had the same epiphany that I did. Just because it happens all the time doesn’t make it normal. It is not normal to see people dying the violent deaths that we just seem to accept as part of life today. Check out his web post below and listen to the song. I hope you can feel what he is feeling. I know I am.
Warning: Strong Language
There was a time in my life when I gave a fuck. Every chance I got I was screaming about it. I was younger. It’s so easy to try to save the world when you’re in college. You got nothing but time and no responsibility. But soon life hits you. No more dorms, no more meal plan, no more refund check. Nigga need a job. Nigga got rent. Got car note. Cable bill. Girlfriend moves in and becomes wife. Baby on the way. Career advances. Instagram is poppin. Lebron leaves Miami. LIFE HITS. We become distracted. We become numb. I became numb. But not anymore. That coulda been me, easily. It could have been my best friend. I’m tired of being desensitized to the murder of black men. I don’t give a fuck if it’s by police or peers. This shit is not normal.
I made a song. This is how we feel.