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I, Too...Understand


I didn't want to watch the video of the five Memphis police officers beating killing Tyre Nichols. 

Yet, I knew I had to. 

For myself, I needed to feel the entire situation. Not just the details from the incident. Not the sadness from the confirmed facts. Not the hurt as I empathize from my own experiences. Not the thoughts from the social discourse and political climate. 

Nope. Just for the raw evil that it is. That is us. America. 

I've shared my story about my own encounter with police officers when I was a teenager. Now, at thirty-seven, that experience still carries with me. I'm forever marred by the idea that my skin, my look, my presence - which at the decision of someone else who may consider it a threat - can be the complete elimination of me. 

And that is not entirely understood from a viewpoint that even loved ones, or those who may claim to love me, love my skin, my body, and my presence, still may not completely understand. They may not understand the complexity and rawness of this truth and reality, that me, is a fragile existence. 

I think of Tyre Nichols and his innocence, his potential, and his representation of America. A young man of color who loved to skateboard and had an interest in photography. He was a father to a four-year-old. He stayed to himself. He didn't do anything, to anyone. He cried out as his life was erased from this earth with every blow and every aggressive violation. He called for his mom repeatedly. She knew. She understood. He knew she would. 

Others do as well.

I understand. 

His life was removed for what? For what? Even with answers from the five police officers, or the current system, the answer still remains...for what? 

All of it...this ugly side of America, that's how quickly it all can be over. How quickly I can be over.

Erased. Removed. Taken out. 

I wrapped up watching those released videos, hurt, distraught, and afraid. Most of all, I'm left with immediate thoughts of the powerful Langston Hughes poem, "I, Too" and its final stanza - 

"Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America."

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