LZ Granderson: I'm tired of seeing African-Americans die as innocent, unarmed shooting victims
He says we've had enough of saying race isn't a factor and of ignoring racial disparities
Granderson: It's too easy for people to become apathetic and accept injustice
LZ: I'm tired of parents weeping for children who did not have to die
Editor’s Note: LZ Granderson is a CNN contributor, a senior writer for ESPN and a lecturer at Northwestern University. He is a former Hechinger Institute fellow and his commentary has been recognized by the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Follow him on Twitter @locs_n_laughs. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
I am tired.
Tired of our streets being peppered with dead, unarmed black people. Tired of listening to armed assailants describe how they feared for their lives. Tired of being told “this has nothing to do with race.”
I am tired of having to march to have murderers arrested. Tired of worrying about my 17-year-old being gunned down by some random white guy who thinks his music is too loud. Tired of knowing the same could happen to me.
I am tired of seeing a hashtag in front of a victim’s name on Twitter. Tired of seeing Al Sharpton speak on behalf of a family. Tired of waiting for verdicts and hoping for justice –as if hearing “guilty” can ease the anxiety of knowing a police officer shot and killed a 22-year-old black man while he was lying face down and with his hands behind his back.
I’m tired of the cynics who are quick to extend the benefit of the doubt to a gunman but hesitant to do the same for an unarmed teenage girl who had been shot in the face. I am tired of seeing images of police officers with snarling dogs threatening a crowd of black protesters and not knowing if it’s from the 1960s or last week.
In the case of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, it’s the latter. Witnesses said he was shot multiple times from 35 feet away after his hands were raised. Again, he was unarmed.
I am tired of the U.S. Department of Justice having to closely watch local authorities. I am tired of local authorities advocating for Stop and Frisk one minute and dismissing the notion of racial profiling the next. I am tired of the charlatans who chase the bodies of innocent victims the way sleazy lawyers chase ambulances. I hate black looters at peaceful rallies the way I hate the KKK.
I don’t want to get shot by a police officer.
And I’m tired of thinking that each time one walks by.
I don’t begrudge anyone who has the luxury of not knowing what that kind of siege feels like. I just hope they have the decency not to characterize the socioeconomic disparity along racial lines as a card to be played but rather recognize it as a looming element of our cultural fiber.
For example, from 1934 to 1962, the federal government backed $120 billion of home loans. Because of an appraisal system that deemed integrated communities financial risks, less than 2% of those loans went to minorities.
When you consider that home ownership has long been the prerequisite for the average American to acquire wealth, there is little wonder why white Americans have 22 times more wealth than blacks. That is not a card being played. That is math. And I’m tired of having to explain that.
Just as I’m tired of watching the video of Eric Garner being placed in a chokehold by NYPD, listening to him say “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” and then watching him die minutes later.
But I need to keep watching because apathy is a clever hunter. It cloaks itself with FBI statistics and slips into the system between runs to Starbucks. Then one day as you’re sipping your grande decaf mocha, you see a headline about an unarmed black man being shot and killed by police and think nothing of it.
Or worse yet – assume he did something to deserve it.
I’m tired of unarmed dead black people being put on trial. I’m tired of politicians visiting our churches for votes but skipping out on these funerals
I’m tired of hearing mothers and fathers weep for children who did not have to die.
But most of all I’m tired of the people who are not tired like me.