I have no internet access in the house where I'm staying
but I do have mobile data & on occasion even get texts & phone calls.
Tonite I distract myself from my computer…i.e. from
writing my book…and pick up my phone to scroll facebook headings. I cannot post
comments, click on links, or continue reading articles from my location but I can
see what’s being posted and talked about.
My attention is immediately frozen to Sandra Bland’s
murder. I grab my computer and phone & head out to charge thru the bugs,
humidity and heat, slogging the half mile to the nearest place I can connect to
I sit outside this house, where two of the most “political”
womyn on this land that I’ve met at least, live, and hurriedly boot up and
connect to the internet.
I am so simultaneously and deeply horrified, outraged,
saddened, incensed to read the skimpy details that have come out about this
courageous sistar and the fuckin violent racist cop. I watch the truncated
video of the police attack on her with much trepidation, shock, disbelief – yet
I don’t want to believe, can barely fathom, every infinitesimal
part of me, yet again, wanting to deny this has happened, yet again – a fuckin
traffic stop ending in the death of a Black womon. UNTOLERABLE!!!
One of the womyn sticks her head out the door and begins
to ask me if I want to come in, pausing mid-sentence when she notices my sobs. She
has heard about Sandra Bland and has less information than I do but wants to
I tell her everything I know. She concurs with me how
horrible, how racist, how unacceptable.
But then she almost slyly changes the subject and cautiously,
peering a little sideways at me – or do I imagine that? – asks me if I heard
about what happened in Chattanooga that morning.
I haven’t & I think she will tell me about another atrocious
killing by police. Instead she tells me an Asian man has killed 4 people. What,
I ask her, what is she talking about? What four people?
She tells me that the Asian gunman opened fire at a
military recruiting station and killed 4 soldiers. Four fuckin soldiers. What,
is she comparing this killing of armed men with the police killing an unarmed
If I was a dog, all my hair would be standing on end and
there would be a deep rumbling spewing from my throat. I asked her, what did
she mean Asian? Frozen, and before I allow myself to react, I imagine she must
be speaking of a man whose ancestors are from China or Japan or Korea. She said
she wasn’t sure exactly his country of origin, somewhere in Asia.
And I ask her again, trying to keep the fury out of my
voice, ok then, what does it matter if he is Asian? I try not to get it, that she’s
pointing out that white cops aren’t the only racial group that kills (and more subtly that Black people aren't the only ones that get killed...), that she’s
distracting herself – and me – from dealing with the horrors of Sandra Bland’s
My immediate realization that she is trying to minimize
or detract from the fact that Sandra Bland is a Black womon murdered by a white
system by bringing up this other murder swims in front of my eyes and increases my
regret and sadness, even tho I didn’t know it was possible for my sadness to
increase with this womon who has been so nice and welcoming to me and has
shared many common perspectives with me.
She tells me it’s a shame this Asian man did this killing
cause now he has stirred up negative sentiment towards his people.
Really? Like when white people murder “negative sentiment”
is stirred up against white people??? I don’t even go there, as I’m getting a
glimpse of who she’s calling Asian.
I ask her how does she know he is Asian & she begins
to look abashed, telling me he has “one of those names”. Like “Chang” or “Lee”
or “Ying” I ask. No, she is really unsure now, the name that tells you what
group he belongs to.
Like “Mohammed”? I ask. She’s relieved, I finally get it.
Oh, so you mean you think he’s Muslim – and before I can pick my jaw up from
the floor as the racial id’s the majority mass murderers in this country floods
my brain, she says she thought he was Asian with a name like that.
I direct the conversation back to Sandra Bland - my heart is swollen with terrible sadness, my body is enraged, my thoughts are revengeful. The powerlessness is overwhelming for me, fatal for Sandra.
Later, I look up this man and find out he is from Kuwait –
his parents fled to this country after our invasion of Kuwait, when he was a
young teen. He is Middle Eastern and a refugee of U.S. imperial violence.