I'm tired of crying.
I'm tired of black boys having their bodies used for target practice.
Tired of black boys being gunned down in the street because a hoodie made them 'suspicious.' Tired of learning their only weapons were Skittles and Arizona iced tea. Tired of attire and facial features giving the a-ok for stalking, racial profiling, slurs and provocation before a fatal shot to the heart. Tired of Florida juries putting dead black boys on trial for their own murders, when their only crimes were walking down the street, minding their own business and trying to defend themselves. Tired of dead black boys being put on trial for their own murders - and losing - while a killer walks free, is treated like a celebrity and is hailed as a hero by half the nation. Tired of Florida jurors hating another race of people, saying things like, "Them," "How they live…."
Tired of black boys being gunned down in gas station parking lots because they refused to lower the volume of their rap music. Tired of the stereotyping of an entire genre. Tired of people being so bold as to make demands of total strangers in a public venue. Tired of cowards lying on black boys when no "stick" or "gun" were found. Tired of knowing big mouths were their only weapon. Tired of jailhouse letters with the terms "ghetto," "these people," "subculture" and "thug" being written over and over again. Tired of coming to realize that "thug" is the new n-word. Tired of Florida juries taking upwards of 70 hours to determine whether or not a man should be found guilty for a killing unarmed, black teesn because they talked back. Tired of Florida juries failing to unanimously agree that a man should go to prison for killing black boys but should be found guilty for attempting to kill their friends. Tired of knowing if this man would be free if not for the friends, who lived, in the SUV.
I'm tired of watching black parents be brave, stoic and dignified in the face of the horror of having their children murdered. Tired of Florida telling black families their sons' lives were meaningless, trying to determine if it's really legal for young, black males to leave their homes. I'm tired of not admitting I know if a black man chased and killed a non-black boy who was walking in affluent neighborhood, he would be thrown underneath the prison and it would not have taken 46 days for an arrest. Tired of not admitting I know if a black man killed a non-black boy for blasting loud country, rock or metal music, he would either shot dead on sight or found guilty of first degree murder.
I'm tired of the African American community having OJ Simpson thrown in their faces at every turn, as if blacks are a monolith and think along the same lines. "Oh, but you weren't upset when OJ killed those two white people and got off!" Oh, so you've thoroughly inspected every black person's mind? I'm tired of non-blacks calling Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton the spokesmen of the black community. Wack stories, don't bother repeating them. You sound like a broken record.
I'm tired of my ethnicity being an alibi for why the perils of black Americans should not concern me. So, you're part East African and don't really look like them. So, your ancestors weren't slaves in America. Why do you care? Because I'm a part of the BLACK RACE. Because if a racist wants me dead, it won't matter where my people originate. Because if a racist wants me dead, it won't matter how my nose looks or my cheekbones or my hair. Because if a racist wants me dead, it won't matter how much education I have, what I drive, where I work, what my salary or is if I'm a "good" black person. Because if I were alive in the '30s or '40s, no one would question my background before lynching me. Black Americans have a different culture than black Jamaicans. Black Nigerians have a different culture than black Haitians. But there is no difference, to a racist. We're all the same.
I'm tired of some blacks exerting anger on all whites, as if whites are a monolith. I'm tired of some black people acting as if some whites haven't been as equally outraged, if not more, by the violence. I'm tired of some black people and their temporary indignation - protesting, marching, going to candlelight vigils, all for show, mad for about a two to three week period before resuming usual shenanigans.
I'm tired of black boys killing each other, taking each other's' lives because of gang affiliation, personal beef or your so-called "girlfriends" who play an identical role to 5 or 6 other boys. I'm tired of judges slapping harsh sentences on black boys for not only have you ruined your lives over foolishness, you've succeeded in making the entire race look bad. But most of all, you've given the racists something to cheer about - got two with one stone, essentially.
Tired of going back to the reservation, on which I have never lived, and feeling guilty for pulling up in a Range Rover instead of a car with a duct taped bumper. Tired of stepping on shattered beer bottles and remaining unharmed while children have just cut their feet and are now screaming to the top of their lungs. Tired of discovering the latest childhood friend to have succumbed to alcohol or drugs or have stared down the barrel of a gun held by someone of the same race. Tired of elders wondering if the reason I don't come back more often is because I'm ashamed, if I've grown to take my grandparents' sacrifices for granted. Tired of some peers thinking me a haughty, rich mixed breed who only comes back to boast. Tired of explaining that I'm not superior to anyone, that most of what I have is because of what my parents have given me. Tired of biting my tongue, resisting the urge to embarrass by pointing out that I am not a rez kid yet speak the language fluently unlike them.
Tired of being treated like an outsider participated in the American Indian Movement, and were discriminated against, just like theirs. Tired of being treated as if Native plight is lost on me because I grew up privileged, as if I'm not equally disgusted by a professional football team using 'Redskins' and considering the mascot an honor for the indigenous community. Tired of feeling shame for not turning the other cheek and having all a room full of people hone in while I muster up a lie to explain this scraped face and bloody nose while my brother sits in a dark corner with eyes dismantling my pitiful alibi. Tired of stumbling into a random, distant cousin's home and doing a different version of the same routine in front of him again. Tired of preparing myself for this fight we're definitely about to have, tired of explaining this has nothing to do with pride - that they can call me everything under the sun but they will not walk away with calling our mother foul names because 'dishonored' fullbloods by marrying a non-Indian and birthed a couple of 'mutts.' Tired of acknowledging that he endured it first (and probably worse) than I ever have, tired of acknowledging I'm getting too old for this. Tired of sleeping with one eye open, halfway expecting gunshots to rain retaliation through the windows when we least expect it. Tired of knowing we have to leave before dawn, looking over our shoulders. Tired of praying our vehicle's tires aren't slashed because a world of hurt awaits us if they are. Tired of being part of the problem, tired of not being able to practice what I preach despite being a born sinner.
I'm tired of some black and red people not respecting each other when we know full well no one else will show give us respect lest we develop some self-worth.
And, until then, the crying continues.
And I'm tired of crying.