I shouldn’t have to write this. I shouldn’t have to express my outrage and my grief and that unshakable sickness in my gut that only gets worse every time I open my Facebook and see a video of a Black individual being manhandled and shot by the police all over again. I shouldn’t have to worry about all of my friends who are minorities every time they leave their house. I shouldn’t be afraid to leave mine.
I shouldn’t have to write this. I shouldn’t have to read the same tired quotes about how our criminal justice system is broken, and how those at the top need to be held accountable, because that’s been said ever since we were “freed.” I shouldn’t have to carefully pick and choose the words I write here, so I can get my point across but maintain my composure. I shouldn’t have to feel that this world is doomed and that there’s no hope for this country or this race if the wheel just keeps turning like this.
I shouldn’t have to write this. I shouldn’t have to talk about how disgusted I am that the top trending topic for the last 24 hours has been #NationalKissingDay. I shouldn’t have to talk about how within the last 48 hours, 4 Black men were killed by the cops, but only one made the news cycle. I shouldn’t have to talk about how it was actually more than 4, but that I was only made aware of those four, and the sinking feeling in my heart that I’ll never know the names of the beautiful souls that we lost.
I shouldn’t have to talk about how I consider shaky Facebook videos more reliable evidence than any news source, as with the video I can see what happened, with no prejudice or second agenda. I shouldn’t have to talk about how I knew every news channel was going to paint Anton Sterling or Philando Castile in the worst possible light to justify their deaths. I shouldn’t have had to go to sleep last night with the knowledge that I watched a man die. I shouldn’t have to also live with the fact that in the same night, I saw a white man fight off two officers for a prolonged period of time, before being tazed by the police and detained with minimal force, knowing damn well that had it been a Black man in his place, he would have gotten two in the chest before he even got off the ground.
I shouldn’t have to be afraid to be near the police officers that I inevitably run into in these New York streets. I shouldn't have to be afraid of having fun because I know the people who are supposed to be the sentinels of my protection could also be the harbingers of my destruction. I shouldn’t have to leave my apartment thinking and worrying that today might be my last day on this planet. I shouldn’t have to be afraid that I might never see my parents again, or that I might never get to see my little brother graduate high school, or see my baby sister off on her first day of school. I shouldn’t have to lie to friends and family and say that I don’t want kids because of the responsibility, because I know all too well I don’t want to bring a child into a world where they can be killed simply for being different. I shouldn’t have to think that suicide is a viable option so I can escape the statistically probable eventuality that I will become just another name dragged through the mud in the news, or another hashtag on Twitter. I shouldn’t want to die so I can escape a world that isn’t worth living in.
I shouldn’t have to write this. And you shouldn’t have to read this. Because none of this should have to happen.