It was about 8-9 years ago. I’m at the local pizza shop grabbing some food, next thing you know I’m getting rock bottomed. I should’ve just had called for delivery. I’m immediate turned on my stomach and trying to get a glance at my assailant, I see two shiny shoes and an navy pants, it’s the good ol Boston Police. I’m searched frantically by one as the other watches with his gun aimed directly at my royal blue du-rag, they grab my wallet and let me up and escort me out as the staff and other patrons wonder what the hell just happened here. I’m stare at the two men, trying to discreetly read their badge numbers in case I got a broken rib of something. Apparently I fit the description of someone who was reported carrying a gun, they run my name, nothing. A girl from the neighborhood passes by and says “oooh Tristan what did you you do” “Being black on a Thursday” I responded. Technically I was right, I wouldn’t fit a description if I was white, but I digress. The first cop, a mid to late 30s white guy chuckles and shakes his head, the other a taller heavy set black guy wasn’t amused. Thinking about it now I can see why he was offended, perhaps he didn’t like his blackness being questioned *shrug*. Perhaps in one of the earlier forms of YOLOing, I became somewhat smart with the officers, my side hurt, I was hungry, and I was a straight A student at one of the best high schools in the city, I only dressed otherwise. I knew I didn’t do anything wrong so why worry…
That was me. Two years ago. Even in my early twenties, in spite of being routinely stopped and frisked on my own porch, even after being charged with a felony with no credence just because they could, (intimidation of a witness, it took thousands of dollars and months of going to court for them to realize, the “witness” wasnt showing up was because this “witness” didnt exist, charges ultimately dropped. I was bailed after a weekend, other friends lost months of their lives for no reason). Even after I got the talks, “dont roll in packs”, “carry and articulate yourself well”, “never give them an excuse”, two years ago, I still didn’t want to believe.
Then Trayvon happened.
Then Mike Brown happened.
And countless others. The former two that much more profound because whats more heartbreaking than the loss of young black life is society’s rationalizing of it. That all it takes is smoking pot, or a menacing photo for masses of people to feel comfortable with your murder. 10 years ago, I thought that my honor roll grades, and respectability was enough. Two years ago, I knew better but I didn’t want to accept it. Now, I see the light as it coruscates across the country and across the world.
I’ll never be good enough for them.
My stocky frame, my melanin, strikes fear whether my du rag is in a knot or my Armani tie is in a windsor. I could’ve died that evening a decade ago and my fellow Americans would say “good”. My parents would to turn on the TV or computer and see outsiders discuss how the world is better without their baby boy. Maybe the officer would be arrested, maybe they’d be a trial, not for him but for me….in my 16 years had a lived a life worthy that one ought to be punished for ending it prematurely? At 26, I’m still one bullet away from being a hashtag being on trial for my own murder. That’s terrifying. I or anyone I love can be the next Mike Brown, the next Ezell Ford, the next Sean Bell and all I can do is try to be a good old boy and pray. Not I didn’t know this before, but as I’m watching “respected” officers tell lies, the media amplifying said lies all because the masses would rather a trigger happy white cop play judge, jury and executioner than cross paths with Mike Brown on the street, you see why whats going down in Ferguson is much bigger than Michael Brown. You see why Twitter has been on fire the past week and a half. This can’t be life, the game is rigged, people are done standing idly by while police and media figuratively “sprinkle a little crack on him” Dave Chapelle(c). Yet and still, some people, even black people, don’t get it…..actually I feel like I need a fresh post to vent on that……To be Continued