racism

The Mornings After

I feel different on these mornings. My routine is pretty normal. I get up, get the girls ready, do drop-offs, etc. and head to the coffee shop. But this is the third morning this year that standing in line at the coffee shop feels different. Walking in feels strange. Smiling and saying 'hi' to colleagues feels different. They're mornings after a killing of a black person. A black person like me. They're mournings.

When white people smile at me these mornings, I don't know if that's a quiet way of saying 'I acknowledge what happened last night.' I can't tell what people are trying to say with their eyes; I want them to say it out loud. When I see people laughing and enjoying the morning I wonder if they saw the news. When I don't hear comments and see Facebook posts about why this is not ok, my feelings are hurt. It's just a different kind of morning. But all three have felt the same. They feel lonely. Sensitive. They feel defeated. They feel angry. They feel sad. They feel threatened. Scared. Pissed.

And because of my position in Indy I immediately think ok, what needs to happen. What public conversation can I construct (again) that will allow us open dialogue about racism? What will help? What can I do? And then I think, why is it my role to help others understand how I feel? To justify my mourning? Why aren't they attempting to help more? And to do it over and over again. To strategize beyond a diversity clause? What is the reason? Sure it is my role but not mine alone.

The last morning I felt this way I sat in my car confused and overwhelmingly sad, right outside of The Garden Table in Broad Ripple. I watched privileged people - like me - enjoy expensive breakfasts and talk about their light evenings. I couldn't walk in. I almost wanted to say "didn't you just come from the funeral, too?" I wondered what I should be teaching my girls. I wondered about the safety of the black men in my life - ones who are big and look like "bad dudes." I questioned everything. 

I got a couple texts from friends that said my life mattered to them. It seemed as if someone I knew died. A family member, maybe. And that's how the white people in my life treated it. With a nice message about how things will get better and almost a "get well soon" vibe. It's interesting. That night I looked out of my window and thought about the KKK and if/when they'd make a stronger comeback. Legit thoughts.

It's hard to describe these mornings but they have become distinct. It's a flurry of emotions that range from a sense of abandonment, to creativity, to a sense of generally being fed up. The problem with these mornings is that the feeling doesn't linger for long. A week from now, I'll be fine again. Everyone will. And Terence Crutcher's family will be mourning alone. It's just not enough. 

M