Why do you always say what you believe?
Why do you always say what you believe?
Why do you always say what you believe?
Ev’ry proclamation guarantees
Free ammunition for your enemies!
– Aaron Burr in Hamilton’s “Non-Stop”

Yesterday I was on fire. I truly felt the angry black man side of me boil and express itself in numerous social media posts about the killing of Philando Castile.  I was already sad about the killing of Alton Sterling, but not having seen all the details I didn’t feel sure enough to say much about it.

But after seeing the video and Philando, I got pissed and I went off.  Here’s a man, who was licensed and permitted to carry a concealed weapon, informed a police officer abou that, followed his orders to get his wallet and still was shot FOUR TIMES and was killed.  What! The! FUCK!

Black men get shot for not following the law, for not respecting the police, for not following instructions.  And now we get shot for following the law, for following instructions!

What! The! FUCK!!!

I posted a series of stories about what happened. I posted a series of picture about “The violence isn’t new. It’s just there are more cameras now.”  And I became curious about which of my 2300+ Facebook friends would like the posts, who would make a comment, who would even make a rebuttal.  I was even curious about how many people would unfriend me because of what I was saying (that number, in case you’re wondering, is 9).

I remembered how many times I’ve been pulled over … just for being black.  I remembered how I’ve had my car searched … just for being black.  I remember being asked by a police officer (one of the few bad apples in the bunch) “What is this and why do you have it?” and my answer being “That’s a tire iron, sir. It’s used to help with a flat tire.” I remembered being followed around on campus, driving to Bigelow Hall, and then have a spotlight shined right in my eyes after I parked the car to walk to my room … just for being black.

These things happened to me.  They will happen to my son, Alex.  They will happen to so many black men and women … just for being black.

That is reality.  That is our reality.  And I’m a Black Republican, former chair of a County GOP and I will tell you that is my reality!

I’m sorry if that makes you uncomfortable to hear that.

Actually, I’m not because it needs to be heard and you need to share my outrage about it!

I no longer was channeling Aaron Burr from Hamilton. I no longer cared what kind of ammunition I was giving my enemies.  I was channeling Hamilton and I was going to say what I wanted to say, friendships be damned.

There was very little in the first 6 hours after my initial posts.

I was stunned.  So I posted the following:

You hear that?
That right there?
That’s a damn cricket in silence!

Someone privately told me it was because I was posting a lot of material in a short amount of time and folks don’t know how to handle this or what to say.  Someone else suggested that it was because not everyone uses social media like I do.

I’ll grant ’em that.  I do use social media a lot more than other folks and when I get fired up I can shoot out a lot of stuff very quickly.

Nevertheless, I kept looking … and many didn’t like any of my posts or say anything at all.

And then around 10PM (eastern time) last night, snipers started firing at police officers in Dallas. And as the horror played out last night and into the early hours of this morning, many of those folks who were silent were silent no more.  They quickly changed their profile pictures to “Pray for Dallas” or another type of blue line.

It didn’t take long for that to happen.

I was stunned again.

And I was/am hurt by it.

Langston Hughes wrote:

Negroes
Sweet and docile,
Meek, humble, and kind
Beware the day
They change their mind

For years, I’ve been docile. I’ve been the Black Republican that many in the MiGOP can point to and say “See I have a black friend who is a Republican!”  I’ve kept my temper down and made sure to talk without slang so that I can traverse the institutions of state government and make connections with all people. Black and white.  I’ve not shown the angry black man very much.

I can’t do that anymore.

I’m too sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I’ve argued with numerous people that “Black Lives Matter” does not mean that “White Lives Don’t Matter” or that “All Lives Don’t Matter”.  My hurt doesn’t come from having to debate that issue.  I’m good with having the debate because it means at least we’re talking and acknowledging that something is happening.

My hurt comes from the inconsistency in the way that my friends act.  The hurt comes from the lack of changing profile pictures when a black man who followed the law is needlessly killed.  But in less than five minutes, those pictures will change for a club in Orlando, or the people of Paris, or for those on the blue line.  And let’s not forget the people of Turkey (and I’m guilty there for not changing my picture to support them).

And don’t get me started on some damn gorilla in a zoo!

Now, don’t get it twisted. I have a great respect for law enforcement. I know that 95% of them are good people and do their jobs the right way. I know that they deserve our respect and support and they have mine, each and every day.

That doesn’t mean I can’t get pissed about the bad apples in the bunch.

And that doesn’t mean that you can’t get pissed about that too. It doesn’t mean that you can’t stand with me (in reality, figuratively, or on social media) when we get pissed off about what’s going on.

It doesn’t mean I can’t ask “Where is the NRA to defend the rights of Philando, who was rightfully carring his firearm?”  It doesn’t mean I can’t ask “Where are the All Lives Matter people standing up for him?”  It doesn’t mean I can’t ask “Where is the FOP to speak out about bad police and overzealous and unnecessary escalation of force?”

My friend Jesse put it very well when he wrote on Facebook:

With as much passion as we have when we see one of our own murdered by police we have to have it when they are murdered in the streets. Just as the passion some have when a police officer is murdered in the line of duty they should have it when a black life is taken by a police officer. This should have been the same anger some shared when the alligators and gorilla were killed. When we say BlackLivesMatter we are saying that our lives should be valued just as you value the next life and We should be more important than an animal. WE CANNOT BE SELECTIVE IN OUR OUTRAGE!

No one deserves to have their lives snuffed out in the callous ways that we’ve seen this week.  No one, black/white/Christian/Muslim/Straight/Gay/Northerner/Southerner/Police officer/civilian.  No one!

But we need to be just as outraged when it happens to anyone of us.  We should not be selective (consciously or unconsciously) with our outrage.

I hope my friends (both white and black, both Republican and Democrat) will remember this, the next time there’s an unjust incident that happens, regardless of color or status:

You don't have to be black

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