I have no rage.

It is not spent for the day. I was not overzealous at Sunday’s rally in honor of Travon Martin that began in Oscar Grant Plaza. I am not rationing it for its possible need in the coming days and weeks as we – however you define we, as nation or skin color or shared dismay – contemplate next steps.

I have no rage because it never came.

Sitting outside a bar with friends all preparing for the evening ahead, the sun still high in the summer sky, we learned of the Zimmerman verdict by text message. Five minutes on a table of smart phones and we all sat staring. Too stunned to whisper our dismay, to keep our collective pain private, our voices carried.

One friend left, her drink unfinished, her night irrevocably changed. My other friend and i sat staring intermittently at the faces around us, unburdened and unchanged by the news, and our phones. Checking each to understand the other. How could people be laughing? Did they not know or was this an experience that could not be shared fully, this public proclamation, or simply  the reminder, that boys wrapped in brown skin matter less than those in pale skin- matter less than dogs.

Three blonde children ran gleefully back and forth on the sidewalk beyond the bar. I caught their laughter periodically and found myself resentful. Resentful of the safety they know, they will always know. Resentful that their parents will hold them tight and possibly pray the parents’ prayer but will never imagine a cop or a Zimmerman following, humiliating, murdering their child. Resentful that every parent of a brown man-child, brown girl-woman, can never take such a thing for granted.

it is twisted, safety played out as a zero sum game even though it isn’t.

and so i went home, called black men i know – some that i love. And i cried – to them with them near them without them. I cried thinking of every sweet boy turned man whose story i know. Trying to cut grass in his neighborhood over the summer, stopped- insulted- detained. Buying a pizza one late night not too far from campus – stopped- insulted –detained.  Told it was past curfew even though the curfew didn’t apply to him – stopped –insulted – beaten – detained. The list goes on.

The criminalization of the black body isn’t a possibility it is reality.

And so i was not outraged yesterday nor am i enraged today. Rage connects to hope or expectation. Rage implies i expect more or better. And sadly, i no longer do.

And so i have sadness.

I have tears.

I have the desire to pull every black boy and man i know close and whisper to them that they are beautiful and smart and sensitive and funny and sweet and vulnerable and worthy and wrothy and worthy.

And in the absence of that ability i will shed a tear for each one. A tear that is at least as useful as people marching in the streets screaming chants about how horrible they believe Oakland Police Department to be, about whatever street being “Trayvon’s street”, about no peace because we know beyond a zimmer(man) of a doubt, there is no justice. At least as useful because i fear tomorrow or next month this fervor will have faded.

And so i marched hollowly sunday. I could not chant on cue and with proper enthusiasm. Instead i found myself staring at a small brown child, maybe 5-years-old, with his mother. His hood was pulled up and he played with an “I am Trayvon Martin” sign while clutching his mother’s leg. He smiled at me and in the wake of that smile everything else seemed perverse.

A perversion because we should not only be marching for Trayvon, we should be marching for that little boy, we should be marching for the brown boys and men- for the people – who are murdered daily with no fanfare, no signs of protest, no hoodies in their honor, no question of the legitimacy of their deaths.

And so i have no rage. I hope it is merely delayed. I hope that my righteous indignation will be reignited and my hope – no matter how tiny and fragile – restored. But for now i offer a daughter’s sister’s friend’s girlfriend’s lover’s lament. Today i offer the only thing i have to give, i offer my tears.

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1 Comment on no justice, no rage

  1. Shittu says:

    A beautiful tribute to Trayvon…and all brown boys and men.

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