Monday, August 11, 2014

Now, You See Me:

Reflections on the Police Shooting of Michael Brown-18


Now, for this brief moment, you see me.

As we gather in throngs, angrily, defiantly, desperately confronting your apathy, your arrogance, your utter disdain…you see me.

Now, after killing me; shooting me down like a rabid pup, leaving my body on the cold, cold ground for hours, like garbage…you hear me.

As my 18-year-old blood soaks into our concrete detention, you fear me.

Now, as I once again face German Sheppard’s and M-16’s held in the shaky, sweaty hands of mentally pubescent, conditioned “heroes”.…you feel me.

I am the subject of “Today’s News”; the analysis of stale analysis, the giant awakened by a blast of unrestrained, unnoticed and unchecked indifference.

And you…now, you've come home…if only for the moment.

Like absentee parents, you revisit the nightmare you abandoned to chase “the Dream.”  Where were you while poverty and unemployment mounted…while they packed the children of your parent’s parents in prisons, herded your kin into Gateway ghettos and stereotyped us all into irrelevance?

Your impotent call for calm is too late, even though my blaze validates your worth.

This is the “fire next time.” It is St. Louis finally claiming its 1960’s moment. It is the vomit that spews after a centuries-long diet of naked injustice. It is the protruding pus from a rancid, untreated wound. It is the communal outcry to the manifesto of systemized, antiseptic assassination.

Now, as I run your streets, trashing your QuikTrips and looting your Taco Bells; as I gag on tear gas and defiantly await rubber to turn to lead, you see me as you've always projected me: angry, reckless, violent, out-of-control, in need of restraint.

I am different…but not.

If only, in this brief moment, you can really see the “me” that is us, that is we.

Sylvester Brown, Jr. / August 10, 2014


Photo by AP newswire

Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Dr. Gerald Higginbotham said...

My fellow Americans we must now organize and support one another. Being reactive puts us at a disadvantage. Proactive is order of the day. We will hold the city accountable and seek justice. We must use this incident as a wake up call to address the age old issues that has been plaguing us. America failure to take care of its first born citizens the slaves and it's descendants. We will have justice and true (Economic) emancipation for its first born. Dr. Gerald Higginbotham
314 643-6880

Anonymous said...

Please don't give our government an excuse for martial law in our town. They are biting at the bit for the chance. Fight them with peace. Please!

Sylvester Brown, Jr. said...

Dear Anonymous, our government has never relied on the comments of blacks to institute martial law or tolerate police brutality against black people. Peace has it's place but so does unplanned, uncontrolled outrage and resistance. The protests (and riots) of the late 1960's played a major role in making "race" a serious topic for discussion. I, too, wish for peace but, I'm sorry, without "Law" one cannot expect "Order."

Anonymous said...

You people are ridiculous! Your child resisted arrest and fought the police that was in fear of his life so he did what he is trained to do in that situation. What about when you African Americans kill each other on a daily basis, walk down the street and play "the knock out game" on innocent citizens? You are using this situation to act like ANIMALS looting business' and hurting innocent people, but when YOUR quote innocent kid unquote get killed it's different... NOT! Law is what this young man was not following and this is the outcome. Sad it may be, it is the LAW. STOP making this a RACE thing because it could of happened to anybody Caucasian, African American, Hispanic etc.

rinapoo76 said...

Dear Dr. Higginbothim: Please help me understand how we can be proactive? Any actions taken now are way overdue responses that are grossly reactive to the decades of injustice committed against our most vulnerable communities. People speak of the police officers restraint (even I), but it occurs to me to mention the restraint these communities have shown until now and the restraint some are still showing. Help us understand proactivity in the situation.

omomma said...

…"German Sheppard’s and M-16’s held in the shaky, sweaty hands of mentally pubescent, conditioned “heroes”… Here, precisely, is the problem. Police departments MUST review hiring policies that employ the undereducated, unemployable-except-for-quasi-military-activity, recently discharged from service, bored, restless post-adolescents seeking status as "heroes". And the public hero language has got to stop.

Anonymous said...

Sylvester, I understand the anger, but how do the riots help change the situation? Looking at the list of riots in urban areas from the 1960's, how many are in good shape today? Coleman Young directly blames the decay of Detroit on the 1967 riots. Other cities that had riots:
- Watts (LA)
- Newark, NJ
- DC
- Baltimore
- etc -

Contrast that with the non-violent movement of Dr. King and see which had a greater impact. Will Ferguson ever recover from this riot? Now everyone can see what happened, is there opinion changed for the better?

Anonymous said...

But in reality be hones t with yourself its the minorities who it does happen to african american/ hispanics. Looting doesnt make it right ur correct, but how this situation was handled by the officer wasnt either. He couldnt have been in that much fear thats the way he executed that boy in the street with his hands up. Would your comment be justifiable if this was your child. We not talking rave but if this situation was yours and your kid was gunned down....Theres not explanation for anyone to endure that.

Anonymous said...

This piece by Sylvester Brown holds many truths. The training level, racial biases, and treatment of minorities, must be taken into question. The way this young man was gunned down, and the outcome of the scenario lends itself to a man who holds biased beliefs about minorities. This fact should lead to more education of those we put in positions of power.
As for the violence that has ensued since this occurred , I ask for peace but understand the response of those who have been oppressed without a voice. There will come a time when the violence ends and that is when the true fight begins, for all the violence will serve as a prime example for those who relentlessly judge minority classes. Recognize the voices within that have been placed there by those who oppress and who aim to continue to oppress. Only then can we realize who we truly are and what we as a people seek(equality, love). I am sorry too all of those who have lost loved ones to violence. I hope for true peace for us all.

Anonymous said...

My child will be taught better than to strong arm rob, assault an officer and try to get his gun... Also when his hands were up the officer approached him and he put his hands down and tried to get his gun so do you know the facts or just talking! Michael brown was 6'4" and 300lbs the officer was even close to that... If he shot him then I'm sure the officer was in fear of his life obviously. I don't see the officer ruining his career over some lil punk ass kid being a nuisance! It's a sad situation either way. African Americans are not the minorities anymore I'm tired of hearing!