TW: Violence, racism, murder
I’ve seen a lot of posts from my fellow white people saying, “I am Michael Brown” or some variation of the sentiment. While I understand that the intent is good, the result is harmful. I am not Michael Brown. If you’re white, neither are you. Michael Brown was a young black man who was murdered for being black. Outrage over his death has led to the militarization of his town, multiple arrests, and a multitude of injuries as police fire tear gas and projectiles into homes and crowds.
Fellow white people, I understand if you are outraged at the actions taking place in Ferguson. I understand that the racism, the injustice, and the violence are sickening. I feel that way, too. But we are NOT Michael Brown. Our outrage may be in solidarity with the black communities, but we are not sharing their experiences. Tumblr user yungfeminist says it all:
- THIS IS NOT YOUR TIME TO GIVE SOME LENGTHY OPINION ABOUT HOW YOU HATE COPS WHEN YOUR LIFE IS NOT LITERALLY THREATENED BY OUR RACIST CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM EVERY DAY. THIS IS NOT YOUR TIME TO “SYMPATHIZE” WITH BLACK POCS ON HOW YOU LOVE TO JUST SAY “FUCK THE POLICE” TOO. THIS IS NOT SOME CUTE TREND.
- THIS IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH AND THIS IS ABOUT ANTI BLACK RACISM AND IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU. DO NOT SPEAK OVER ANYONE.
So the next time you want to say, “I am Michael Brown”, don’t. You aren’t. Your life isn’t in jeopardy because of your skin color. We do not face systemic racism, corrupt “legal” and “justice” systems, or oppression from the day we’re born until the day we die.
Instead, share what’s happening in Ferguson. Share the stories and voices of black people who are attacked, brutalized, and killed every day. Examine yourself and your own life for your own racist beliefs and then change them. Speak out against others who say racist things or perpetuate racism through their actions. Stand up against anti-blackness. Lives literally depend on it.