This past summer, sis and I were with our then 5yo niece as we headed to my home for a Girls' Night. Pulling her lil carry-on beside us, I noticed she didn't seem her usually excited self. I asked her what was up.
"I'm happy and I'm sad," she said.
"Oh. So, mixed feelings?" I asked.
"No. Two feelings," she replied in a beat.
Sis later made a joke about that moment, saying Kiki was very clear about her feelings; that "they don't mix." Lol!
I thought of that moment sometime earlier this week. It came to mind shortly after the Grand Jury's decision on whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson was announced. Wilson was not (even) indicted for the August 9, 2014 killing of Michael Brown.
Much has been written about this, including: how the prosecutor's statement sounded more like a defence of the officer; the theories behind waiting until late evening to make the announcement, and so on. A quick Google search will reveal tonnes of articles.
My two cents' on it is about my two feelings - unmixed - that came after the announcements and the protests.
There will always be racism, as long as people exist.
We should not give up advocating for respect and justice for Blacks. Black Lives Matter - as the recent online and offline campaigns remind. Yes. Strides are being made.
Black people in America are hurting like crazy; it's like a wound that doesn't heal. I've said it in another space (in writings of yesteryear) and I might write about it some other time in this space. I am sensitive to the racial tension that exists in the USA. But, it is not my lived experience. My experience, growing up in Jamaica, has entailed run-ins with colourism. But, more anon.
On the first point, I believe people have their biases and prejudices. Generations to come will have biases and prejudices. There is something inherent in some human beings that, for some reason, makes them believe they are better than others in some way. It may concern race; complexion; social status; money... And, people don't change. I've heard my dad with this Jamaican saying: What born inna kid, dead inna goat. Another 50 years from this, there will still be run-ins between Black people and white officers in America. There will always be that officer. Laws, policies, protocols, etc., hopefully, may allow for greater accountability and for justice to be done - and to be seen to be done. I saw a picture on Twitter shortly after the shooting occurred in Ferguson in August. (Pardon the language, btw.) For me, it sums up the feeling of frustration and yet, an acknowledgement, that the fight doesn't end, only the fighters change.
|(Pic via Twitter. Happy to give credit. If you own this pic and wish it removed, please let me know.)|
And that's where the second feeling comes in. The fight, the advocacy, the campaigns and awareness-raising must continue. Because they do make a difference. Blacks - and the general consciousness of racial injustices - have come a long way since the 1960s. I wrote a piece along those lines during my early days on this blog, shortly after the announcement of President Obama's first win. A cursory glance would reveal that much has changed since the '60s - for the better. And, 50 years from this, much will have changed - for the better.
In a real sense, it is a realization of that truism: The more things change, the more they remain the same.