Last night I curled up on a couch with my boyfriend and watched the Ferguson grand jury decision with a sense of dread. When the prosecutor announced that Darren Wilson, the cop who shot and killed 18-year-old Mike Brown in August, wasn’t indicted, I wasn’t surprised and I wasn’t shocked. I was just numb.
You might be wondering what “wasn’t indicted” means, right? Basically, Wilson wasn’t charged with any crimes and won’t go to court. Another day, another black person killed by police without an ounce of justice served. Welcome to America, folks! Think I’m overreacting? Google Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, John Crawford and Eric Garner. Oh, and after you do all that, check out the story of an unarmed 12-year-old boy named Tamir Rice who was shot to death by police just the other day. Stories of cops (and wannabe cops in the case of Trayvon) killing unarmed black boys and men without a shred of punishment isn’t new, but its become such a regular occurrence as of late that it is absolutely maddening, especially as a black person. But perhaps even more painful than these news stories is the denial many people have about how racism plays into these incidents.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If Mike Brown was a white kid who was, miraculously, deemed enough of a threat to be shot six times by a policeman, nobody would question the outrage it would bring on. His death would be considered the ultimate injustice and a national tragedy. But the real Mike Brown was a big black kid who allegedly shoplifted, so people find ways to justify his death. That’s funny, because white kids shoplift all the time, yet I’ve never heard anyone claim that they deserve to get killed because of it.
To deny the racial element to the events in Ferguson is pretty much denying the truth: We live in a racist country. We live in a racist country that sees black bodies as an inherent threat. We live in a racist country that doesn’t even deem the death of an unarmed black teenager worthy of going to court. We live in a racist country that is more concerned about “looting” and property damage than dead black people. We live in a racist country that reminds protestors in Ferguson to be peaceful but doesn’t extend the reminder to the police. We live in a racist country that tells black people like me to calm down and channel my anger in a positive way instead of just letting me be mad. I’m mad, okay? M-A-D.
I’m not the only one who is outraged by the grand jury’s decision last night. Thousands of people across the country broke out into protest in response and even more took to social media to unleash their anger, sadness and cynicism. From celebrities to writers to everyday people, here are 25 of the most powerful tweets about Ferguson.
1) The Daily Show‘s Jessica Williams laying it down.
People joke about the angry black woman. We have been born in a society that is not made for us. If you were us, you’d be pissed too.
— Jessica R. Williams (@msjwilly) November 25, 2014
2) Truth bombs.
3) The snark is strong and the truth is real.
conflicting witness accounts? if only we had some sort of trial system to sort that out…
— nevona (@nevona) November 25, 2014
4) Black girls are victims of police violence, too!
5) Roxanne Gay exploring how oppressed people are expected to be on their best behavior while being systematically crapped on.
Throughout history, the subjugated have always had to be nobler. That is a hell of a thing, to expect nobility in the face of disgrace. — Roxane Gay (@rgay) November 25, 2014
6) It’s okay to be angry.
I don’t have anything “insightful” to say right now. Just pain, and anger. Something we are all allowed to feel right now. — solange knowles (@solangeknowles) November 25, 2014
7) Author Janet Mock emphasizing that #blacklivesmatter.
8) Even Macklemore kept it real…
The system that instills & protects white supremacy wins again. Humanity loses…No justice. I pray for Mike Brown & his family. So sad. — Macklemore (@macklemore) November 25, 2014
9) Protests weren’t just occurring in Ferguson, MO. They were happening everywhere from Los Angeles to Washington to New York!
10) At the end of the day…
Regardless of what narrative or witness account you choose to believe. An unarmed kid getting six bullets in him will never make any sense. — Jasmeet Singh (@JusReign) November 25, 2014
11) Not everyone feels safer around cops, for good reason.
The fundamental danger of a non-indictment is not more riots, it is more Darren Wilsons. — jay smooth (@jsmooth995) November 24, 2014
13) Re: The media’s reaction to the protests…
14) Property damage is more important than black lives, apparently.
There are some people who are genuinely more upset about looting than they are about centuries of black oppression in this country. — Sara Benincasa (@SaraJBenincasa) November 25, 2014
15) The worst part is that Darren Wilson used “it” to describe Mike Brown, not “he.”
“he looked like a demon”…this language has been used for hundreds of years to justify the treatment of Black bodies. — Black Girl in Maine (@blackgirlinmain) November 25, 2014
16) Is anyone else disturbed by this?
Ponder this: Emmett Till’s murderers got indicted. In Mississippi. In 1955. Black life isn’t even worth a trial in 2014. — Tiffany Gill, Ph.D (@SableVictorian) November 25, 2014
17) Sad but true.
18) For those of you who need a refreshed history lesson…
Malcolm X -AND- MLK Jr. both got murdered, so maybe it’s not about violence vs. peace, but rather, the people who keep killing us. — Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) November 25, 2014
19) You don’t have to go see a dystopian movie to see injustice.
20) This is kind of a big deal.
21) Dev Hynes of Blood Orange discussing the way history repeats itself.
I remember the day after the Zimmerman trial being in union square just completely and utterly dumbfounded… how are we here again? — Devonté Hynes (@devhynes) November 25, 2014
22) Think about what your neutrality on this issue supports!
23) This image is beyond powerful.
— Gabe Ortíz (@TUSK81) November 25, 2014
24) Two words: Oh snap.
How to Get Away With Murder Live on CNN, FOX, NBC, and ABC.
— Devin Torkelsen (@devintorkelsen) November 25, 2014
25) And an important reminder for everyone.
If you’re uncomfortable talking about race, racism and white privilege, ask yourself why—wrestle w/ those feelings. Self-educate. #Ferguson
— Derrick Clifton (@DerrickClifton) November 25, 2014
How do you feel about the Ferguson decision? Have you gotten into any interesting–or infuriating–debates about it? Tell us in the comments!