I will not condemn rage. I will not condemn lashing out in the face of an implacable process that protects the powerful and degrades the vulnerable. I will not condemn generations of grief and injustice when it is given voice in flames and shattered glass.
I simply cannot understand. Certainly, I can diagram and dissect and intellectualize the social issues of race and burden and justice and systemic abrogation of society’s responsibilities. But I have never been a man upon whose shoulders that burden landed. I cannot understand.
I am deeply sad. I am bewildered. I once thought I knew the answers to these questions. I now think I don’t even understand the questions. I know that today I am more fearful for the future of my nieces and and my nephew, young persons of color who will navigate a world I cannot imagine will treat them justly.
I miss St. Louis. I love St. Louis. But it is a city with injustice woven into the bedsheets it slumbers on. It is a city, like so many others in this nation, where the lives and experiences of white and black citizens, and more recently latino and middle eastern, do not resemble one another. And it is very clear who has privilege and access and who does not.
Leading up to last night’s announcement of the grand jury decision, there was a great deal of hope that Officer Wilson would be charged with murder, or at least a crime. I shared it. And I felt heartsick at my hope. Because we should not have to hope for justice. We should not have to see justice as a lottery.
I do not pretend to know what happened that day in Ferguson. I know only that all of us live under a system of justice that we cannot trust. Imagine if there were equality before the law. Imagine if a grand jury returning no indictment meant that we could believe that that meant there was no crime. Imagine if we could trust the machine of law to produce justice.
I am deeply sad. Because I do not believe in this process. I do not believe that we know the truth of August 9th, and I now believe we never will. Because our system is not designed to identify the truth and mete out justice. It is designed to protect an established order. And it has functioned as designed, it seems, in this case.
There will be no trial. And the privileged will sleep knowing that those among them who abuse it will rarely be held accountable, while those without will be harassed and incarcerated and debased. So no. I will not condemn this rage. I have neither standing, nor inclination.
But I will hope. However grimly I must hope, I will hope. For justice. One day. For all who’ve earned it.