FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Shoot Me

What is has always been.

In America, black people have always been targeted, stalked, terrorised, tortured, murdered. Sometimes what I need people to understand is that this is normal. What is not normal is how you’re finding out about it. Reading these words on your computer screen about such a thing is not normal.

But our deaths are normal. The killing of Walter Scott is normal. The rules have been in place, and they haven’t changed. What are these rules? Don’t slouch, don’t relax, don’t exhale, don’t walk too tall, don’t walk too close, don’t act too proud, be more humble, and if they ask you why you are wherever you are just smile and nod and explain. And smile. These have been the rules.

Shoot me.

The revolution will not be televised, tweeted, liked, or favorited. But the deaths will be. The shootings keep getting shot and reshot. And replayed. They get their own hashtags. But when you look at it, there is nothing actually happening. Nothing has changed. What is has always been.

If you ask most people, black or white, when the worst part of black history was, they’ll say “slavery”. And they’ll be wrong. The worst, bloodiest time in black history was 1890 to 1920. After emancipation, after reconstruction. After the laws that said that black lives mattered.  And we were terrorised, we were lynched, we disappeared.

Our bodies would float in the Mississippi so much that you could mistake us for the water flowing.

My younger brother will turn 18 and graduate high school next month. He will move away from home and attend college. What are the things people normally think about when this happens? For us, the normal thing to think of is death. My brother is 17 and all I can think of is his pending graduation and his murder.

What is it like to take a sibling like mine for granted? What is it like to imagine him going away to college and being happy? Maybe he drinks? Meets a girl? Discovers his passion? Travels? I don’t think of these things.

I think about how he must keep from being alone at dark near police.

Isn’t that funny? I bet most white parents would tell their children to seek out a cop if ever caught alone unawares. Not us.

Dear brother, if you see a cop, do not run, do not walk, do not. Do not. Do not. Just collapse. Play dead.

Play dead.

Then I think of how much I wish I could guard my brother somehow. At all times, I’d be in front of him and when the cops come I’d bare my chest.

And I’d say shoot me.

I’d shout at them to shoot me.

I’d order them to shoot me.

I’d beg them to shoot me.

I’d plead with them to shoot me.

And I’m willing to do that. For my brother I plan to do that. For my sister I plan to do that. For my father, for my mother I will do that.

For my country.

Shoot me.

Linda Chavers received her PhD in African American Literature from Harvard University in 2013. Originally from Washington, DC, she currently lives and writes in New Hampshire.

This column originally appeared in the Independent.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
September 18, 2019
Kenneth Surin
An Excellent Study Of The Manufactured Labour “Antisemitism Crisis”
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Crown Prince Plans to Make Us Forget About the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi Before the US Election
W. T. Whitney
Political Struggle and Fixing Cuba’s Economy
Ron Jacobs
Support the Climate Strike, Not a Military Strike
John Kendall Hawkins
Slouching Toward “Bethlehem”
Ted Rall
Once Again in Afghanistan, the U.S. Proves It Can’t Be Trusted
William Astore
The Ultra-Costly, Underwhelming F-35 Fighter
Dave Lindorff
Why on Earth Would the US Go to War with Iran over an Attack on Saudi Oil Refineries?
Binoy Kampmark
Doctored Admissions: the University Admissions Scandal as a Global Problem
Jeremy Corbyn
Creating a Society of Hope and Inclusion: Speech to the TUC
Zhivko Illeieff
Why You Should Care About #ShutDownDC and the Global Climate Strike  
Catherine Tumber
Land Without Bread: the Green New Deal Forsakes America’s Countryside
Liam Kennedy
Boris Johnson: Elitist Defender of Britain’s Big Banks
September 17, 2019
Mario Barrera
The Southern Strategy and Donald Trump
Robert Jensen
The Danger of Inspiration in a Time of Ecological Crisis
Dean Baker
Health Care: Premiums and Taxes
Dave Lindorff
Recalling the Hundreds of Thousands of Civilian Victims of America’s Endless ‘War on Terror’
Binoy Kampmark
Oiling for War: The Houthi Attack on Abqaiq
Susie Day
You Say You Want a Revolution: a Prison Letter to Yoko Ono
Rich Gibson
Seize Solidarity House
Laura Flanders
From Voice of America to NPR: New CEO Lansing’s Glass House
Don Fitz
What is Energy Denial?
Dan Bacher
Governor Newsom Says He Will Veto Bill Blocking Trump Rollback of Endangered Fish Species Protections
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: Time to Stop Pretending and Start Over
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Inside the Syrian Peace Talks
Elliot Sperber
Mickey Mouse Networks
September 16, 2019
Sam Husseini
Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max
Paul Street
Joe Biden’s Answer to Slavery’s Legacy: Phonographs for the Poor
Paul Atwood
Why Mattis is No Hero
Jonathan Cook
Brexit Reveals Jeremy Corbyn to be the True Moderate
Jeff Mackler
Trump, Trade and China
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Democrats and the Climate Crisis
Michael Doliner
Hot Stuff on the Afghan Peace Deal Snafu
Nyla Ali Khan
Spectacles of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh and the Revocation of the Autonomous Status of Kashmir
Stansfield Smith
Celebrating 50 Years of Venceremos Brigade solidarity with the Cuban Revolution
Tim Butterworth
Socialism Made America Great
Nick Licata
Profiles in Courage: the Tories Have It, the Republicans Don’t
Abel Prieto
Cubanness and Cuban Identity: the Importance of Fernando Ortiz
Robert Koehler
Altruists of the World Unite!
Mel Gurtov
Farewell, John Bolton
Weekend Edition
September 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
The Age of Constitutional Coups
Rob Urie
Bernie Sanders and the Realignment of the American Left
Anthony DiMaggio
Teaching the “War on Terror”: Lessons for Contemporary Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: They Are the Walrus
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail