In the bag.

I’ll admit it. I laughed! And it was far more than a chuckle! However, I hate the fact that these “_____ while black” moments capture the national attention for a brief moment, only to be forgotten again as if the problem has been rectified. You will still be harassed as a black person if you are driving an expensive vehicle. You will still be harassed as a black person walking through an expensive neighborhood.

And now we’ve come to department stores. However, it is all the same. It is about America demanding black people stay where America is comfortable with them—any place that is substandard. Our clothes should not be as luxurious; our cars should not be as expensive; our homes should not be as pleasant; our jobs should not be as prestigious. And if they are? We will be abused for it—because it is suspicious. To be black and have something of quality is not considered normal. It is not considered right. It is America’s legal way of enforcing segregation, of reinforcing its not-so-secret caste system.

When I’d first heard briefly about the incidents at Barneys, having only headlines and photos to go by, I will admit that my first thoughts were not positive. I’d assumed Christian was the spoiled son of a rich mogul. I’d assumed Phillips was a ditzy mistress. Honestly, I would have assumed the same had the victims been white. (Note: had they been white, they would not have been victimized.) But America? America assumed they were thieves. To engage in a completely legal transaction and be considered a criminal for it is par for the course for African Americans.

We are guilty until proven innocent.

Till death.

“In your hearts and minds never forget Yusef Hawkins.
And when you’re walkin’ you know what you’re sportin’?
Black on black. Remember that. It’s important.”Chubb Rock

I won’t be writing about Trayvon, or Sean, or Yusef, or any of the millions of others who have been denigrated and hunted by those who were taught via centuries of virulent propaganda that blackness is a symbol of criminality, inferiority, and inhumanity. Frankly, I’ll be damned if I let my pain serve as someone else’s entertainment.

For that is all it is to those for whom this marked status isn’t a way of life. We are stress balls for racist trolls to abuse, cathartic proxies for allies seemingly afflicted by a bizarre societal form of Münchausen syndrome (in which our pain and oppression is used to shift attention to their discomfort with it), and story fodder for those who would take our cries of suffering and battered bodies to fill a niche market that does not even allow for us to be heard without a comforting filter of whiteness to serve as a buffer or financial beneficiary.

Why would I write to those who have no interest in changing the status quo—no interest in combating or questioning the anti-black sentiment within American culture that has resulted in the mistreatment and murder of black people? Why share my words if they have no impact?