Can I admit something?
Last week Friday, while I was in England, I was relieved not to do my This Was A Good Week post. It's not that there wasn't good in the week -- clearly there was -- but the news of the no-indictment grand jury ruling in the Darren Wilson case was weighing on me so heavily, I didn't have it in me to look for funny or quirky posts or news happening around the web. I'll just use the fact that I'm away as an excuse not to write it, I thought to myself. Next Friday, I'll make it up.
And then this week, the grand jury in the Eric Garner case also decided not to indict the cop who killed him. A death that was captured on video.
My friends, I am close to the edge, over here.
I'm heartbroken. I'm heartbroken that last week, when we were sitting with our dear friends in England, folks we haven't seen since our wedding day, they mentioned that while they'd love to come visit us, the recent headlines related to Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and now, Eric Garner, make it so that they really don't have any inclination to travel to the United States any time soon. That America's current civil rights record has left them cold. This is what America's image abroad is becoming.
And I'm confused: I don't know how, within the span of a week, two grand juries can decide that neither of these cases are even worth looking at. That all the dodgy (and undisputed) evidence surrounding both of these cases, evidence that, at the very least, appears to show a complete disregard for human life, isn't enough to warrant a second glance. I am positively confounded that the grand juries didn't go, "Huh. Yeah, you know what? Something seems off here. Why don't we send this to trial, where both sides can get lawyers to present their cases, and see what comes up? I mean, maybe these are just the results of tragic accidents ... maybe ... but you know what? Maybe not! Let's dig a little deeper, here! You know, in the interest of ... I dunno ... the truth, perhaps!"
But maybe I'm confused because maybe I skipped that day of Criminal Law in law school. (Or maybe evidence concerning victims who look like me aren't worth a second glance here in America? Maybe?)
And I'm angry. Oh, yes, I'm hella angry. I'm angry for so many reasons, but most recently because just this week, I was driving near my neighbourhood before sunrise, and in the darkness I noticed a police car pulling up in the lane next to me. And for the first time in my life, my instinct wasn't to glance at my speedometer and think, "Oh, no, was I speeding?" but instead -- for the first time ever -- my immediate thought was, "Oh shit ... what's about to happen to me?!" I wasn't doing anything wrong (and I wasn't speeding, for the record), and yet my very first instinct on seeing the police officer was fear. And I'm just so angry that this is apparently what I'm becoming.
I'm also uncomfortable. I'm uncomfortable because while I have black and biracial friends who are very open and speak with me about these issues as we all work through them, I sense discomfort with many of my white friends, who aren't as eager to discuss these cases with me -- in fact, in some instances, it's like the elephant in the room, as we dance around all sorts of topics other than this one. This is not to say that I don't understand -- I do, I so do, talking about race is hard, hard stuff, especially between people of different races, especially because you don't want to inadvertently say the wrong thing -- but nonetheless, the discomfort is there.
(That said, I'm so, so grateful for my white friends who have reached out to me -- friends including (but definitely not limited to) Alice, who made a point of contacting me last week while I was out of the country, just to see if I was holding up okay (I was), and Brené, who called me just yesterday to see if I was holding up okay (I wasn't). Not only was it lovely to learn that my friends cared, but just the fact that kind conversations like ours happened gives me some hope for the world, you know?)
My point is that I just don't have it in me to do my usual This Was A Good Week post again this week -- I'm sorry. I know there's love and light in the world -- my friends, my family and so many of you who visit me here every day are proof of this -- but writing about funny and quirky and silly this week just wouldn't sit right with me right now. Nonetheless, I'll keep looking for the light, both online and off (because that's how I cope), and barring any more horrible news, I'll share it all with you next week. And know that despite my deep blue funk, I'm thinking of you all with gratitude, and sending you love.
Thanks for your patience, friends.
Be kind to each other. See you next week.