Being Black in America after a tragedy in your community feels like what many would clarify as “the strong friend.” On Monday, Black people from all over had to get up, go to work, and pretend like everything was ok, as if the Buffalo shooting on Saturday didn’t happen. There might be a few “checks ins’ if at all, which speaks to the horror of things like this happening so frequently that people are numb to it. But we aren’t – yet we have to pretend we are in the face of hate plaguing us since the beginning of this country.
In the shooter’s manifesto, he stated one of the motivations to carry out the shooting was so it would be hard for Black people to feel safe anywhere. Honestly, it didn’t take this shooting to feel that way. Black people know the luxury of safety isn’t extended to us at a routine traffic stop, while we were walking home in hoodies, or sleeping in our beds.
Ruth Whitfield, 86, stopped by Tops Supermarket to grab something to eat after visiting her husband at a nursing home. Katherine Massey, 72, was a life-long civil rights activist who wrote for the Buffalo Challenger and the Buffalo Criterion. Think of all the history they have lived through, experienced, and survived – yet still, white supremacy robbed them of their latter years of rest.
The “great replacement theory” is one of the greatest grifts of all time – where it would lead an 18-year-old white male to seek out one of the only predominately Black neighborhoods in Buffalo to create this atrocity. If this were even remotely true, don’t you think more communities like this would be easier to find? Black people have been walking through threats, murder, and rights suppression with a steady resolve because that’s how we get through it. We don’t have a choice, like the lyrics to Tamela Mann’s “Take Me To The King” says; “Truth is I’m tired/Options are few.”
It’s not fair that we have to act out of constantly the stress of survival mode because those who engage in racism and spread its message fear their inadequacies. All this comes down to is hateful people regularly buying into principles that are the oppressed ones to justify their terrible acts.
So, Black people are angry, but tired – tired of carrying the burden of being strong in the face of violence, having rights taken away, and the overall lip service of some who say they understand.