You can shut the fuck up.
You can shut the fuck up and listen.
And by ‘you’ I mean you, me, and all of us who walk down the street every day safely swaddled in the bulletproof vest of our white privilege.
You can listen to the anger of a community whose young men are gunned down without cause or penalty.
You can stop citing ‘black on black’ violence, because the justice system doesn’t overlook black on black crime, or black on white crime, or white on white crime, but when a white man with a badge guns down a young black man, justice closes its eyes.
You can and stop condemning the the destruction of private property when your political party is literally named after the destruction of private property.
You can stop co-opting the work of Martin Luther King Jr. by implying that he’d condemn the Ferguson protests. Maybe we’d know what he’d have to say if he hadn’t been shot for promoting non-violent protest.
You can stop insisting that white privilege doesn’t exist when you have never picked up a product in a Wal-Mart and feared being gunned down for it.
You can stop bemoaning how the whiny liberals are so sensitive about kids playing with toy guns and then claim that a twelve-year-old playing with a toy gun took his life into his own hands.
You can stop calling Michael Brown a thug.
You can stop insisting justice was served.
You can stop pretending that shoplifting, jaywalking, or resisting arrest are capital crimes in the United States of America.
You can stop giving white cops the power of judge, jury, and executioner.
You can stop telling people they have no right to be angry, no right to feel oppressed, no right to be victims, no right to exercise their freedom of assembly.
You can stop lecturing people of colour on how to behave when those checks can, and do, rightly come from their own community.
You can stop paying eleven dollars to go see the newest ‘Hunger Games’ movie and then pretend like there’s nothing wrong about a society where a man is trained to kill innocent people, does so, and is awarded celebrity status.
You can shut the fuck up and start listening.
And if you are a person of colour, if this is your city burning, your children dying, your faces being plastered on the internet as you beg for justice:
Please, keep talking.
Don’t shut up. Not until we’re listening.
Please tell your stories. Please share your pain. Please rub our noses in the stench of injustice that you wake up to every morning.
We need it.
And we need you.
Or else we need to prepare for a thousand more Michael Browns.
If you want to support the Ferguson in a way that’s been advocated by many people affected by Michael Brown’s murder and its aftermath, consider making a donation to Ferguson Public School Projects. The effective education of our children is the best defense we have against continued violence against marginalised groups.
Picture via nbcnews.com