I really, really, do not want to write this post. I have been procrastinating like mad all while my gut rips itself apart. Even as I type I feel another anxiety attack coming on because as much as I talk the talk about being willing to offend those you care about/for, walking the walk is sometimes hard, especially when you know what you have to say is going to stir up a monster shit storm all directed at you and probably lose you a few friends in the process. If I am going to be true to myself, and the intent of this blog, I have to do it.
Starting off with what will seem like a wimp out, I do want to offer the caveat that my heart aches for the wife, children, and parents of Officer Daryl Pierson. No one should lose the love of their life so soon, no one should bury their children, and no child should have to grow up feeling the loss of a parent. I have friends (for now) in the law enforcement community. I know their parents, children, wives, husbands, and siblings. I understand how a death like this hits all of them. They worry for their loved ones and their co workers, and, of course, themselves. Fear is a terrible thing to live with.
Here is the rub though, and what we do not want to talk about. That is a fear just being black puts in your heart everyday. Black parents have to teach their children young how to respond to police for fear of their child being gunned down. The Michael Browns, Oscar Grants, and John Crawfords of our country pile up with disgusting regularity, and through it all we make excuses for the institutions that make it happen. Through it all we demonize them in the cases of Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown, or do our level best to ignore them, as with Mr. Crawford. Their lives are dissected by a White America that desperately wants to pretend that racism is a problem of our country’s past. We dig up the dirt on them while burying the dirt on their killers and whitesplaining that “we don’t have all the facts.”
Well no one, certainly not in the mainstream media, will demand to know all the facts of Daryl Pierson’s murder. No one will say officer Pierson was not an angel. No one will drag his name through the mud to his widow, children, or parents’ horror, and I am glad for that. Instead he will be memorialized. Instead regular programming on local TV was interrupted for his funeral. The heavy police presence in the streets of Rochester NY yesterday were in dress uniform to honor him, not in military gear to terrorize those mourning him. The timing of all this could not be worse, or better depending on your point of view.
No, I am not a conspiracy nut. The man who shot Daryl Pierson was a career criminal, and while there is way more room for talk about why he became so than anyone will want to admit, he was not the agent of some dubious cover up. What he did do, beyond cut a young life short, was allow White America a reprieve from the Discussion. The day Officer Pierson was killed comments (yeah, I know, I know) on forums and FB statuses were full of “where are the riots for Daryl” and other such none-to-veiled racist horse crap, as if the apotheosis of his name in the media had not begun already. I say of his name, not the man, because I wonder how much people really care about the man. They want a symbol, and some want him as proof that “they really are all animals.” I know you don’t want to think about it. I know I don’t, in part because I know, hard as it is to write this, that I am related to some of them.
White America can breath a sigh of relief thanks to the man who gunned down Officer Pierson. For the time being any critique of the institutions of law enforcement will be slammed as being in poor taste, as if that matters in the face of state sponsored terror mostly at the expense of our black communities. Well I will not be polite. I grieve for Daryl Pierson as well, as I grieved for Trayvon Martin, as I grieve for the countless, faceless, nameless dead in Palestine, as I grieve for so many others that die that do not have to. I will not dishonor his memory though, or John’s, Oscar’s, or Reneisha’s by accepting his murder as an excuse not to call out injustice.