Maybe its Time for Me to Die

by havilandp

If they gunned me down

Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Ezell Ford, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis.

Too few people have paid attention. Too little change has been made.

Maybe it’s time for me to die.

In order for real progress, real change to be made, people, MUST pay attention and they’re not. Research has shown that there is a stark divide on just how important the execution of Michael Brown in Ferguson is to race relations in America.

pew research             pew research rayvon martin

So maybe it’s time for me to go.

I’m a 26 year old bi-racial man with a college degree, never been in trouble with the law, work experience in the United States Senate and headed to graduate school.

How would America feel if my white mother held a press conference about her son’s unlawful murder?

How would it look to America if the predominantly white community that I come from cried out and called for a change?

What would America see if the predominantly white college I attended held a candle light vigil to remember me?

How would America react if my former staffer colleagues on the Hill stood in solidarity against violence against skin with a darker hue?

I bet that would get people’s attention.

The fundamental flaw with American race relations is a failure to empathize with those that don’t look like you (this is not limited to white communities- this is applicable to ALL communities). Too many Americans view what’s happening in Ferguson as something that is happening to someone else, a foreign community, to someone that is not “like” them.

Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Ezell Ford, Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis were not just murdered in the physical sense; their characters were also assassinated- which only adds to the anguish. They were depicted as “thugs”, “criminals”, “bullies”, “gangsters”- no one wants to identify with any of those “types” of people. But as those words are slowly and subtly associated with these murder victims, the people that need to identify with them the most simply won’t.

No one wants to see these men as brothers, husbands, fathers, sons and friends because that would hurt too much. So they become something else and they we ultimately end up a statistic.

Its easy for mainstream America to not connect with someone that “fits the description;” someone they may not recognize, that may listen to a different type of music, celebrate a different culture or enjoy a different type of food- but that does not mean they are less of a person. That doesn’t mean they should be treated differently or sentenced to death because of the color of their skin. But that’s what is happening.

Liberty and Justice for All*

It has an asterisk, because it doesn’t yet exist in America.

True justice for these men will be when EVERYONE acknowledges that our mindset on race hasn’t evolved all that much over the past few hundred years and we pledge that it stops here, it stops now.

I can’t be the change for anyone else- change starts with you, from within.

But if I was cut down in the street walking home from the store and my story was told maybe you would pay attention… or am I just another number?

Maybe its time for me to die so we can find out.