Thursday, September 22, 2016

Charlotte is on fire.

I'm not sure who took this photo. I wish I knew so I could give them credit. But it was taken on the exit of I-85 next to my boyfriend's house in the middle of the night on Tuesday. That's when the protests got ugly, and an dull haze of fear and rage fell over Charlotte, North Carolina.

The protests began peacefully but quickly became violent. I began contemplating whether or not I should drive to my boyfriend's house this afternoon, knowing it could be really scary.

I've never had to be afraid when I got in my car that I would end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, or that I'd be pulled over for a minor traffic violation and lose my life within the hour. I have not felt this, mainly because I am not a black man. I am lucky in this way, because many people in my community feel that fear every time they put their key into their ignition.

And they wait for change.

And they wait.
And they wait.
And they wait.

I was scared for the first time last night. For the first time in my life I had to feel what black Americans feel every time they put on their seatbelts. It was so unnerving, so uncomfortable. The havoc that kind of stress can wreak on your system over time can break you down.

My city caught fire last night. I wasn't there. I don't know what happened. I didn't see anything firsthand. I don't condone the destruction of private property. I hope that these long nights of protests-- the peaceful ones and the not-so-peaceful ones-- can bring about a positive change to my city. I hope that the black community of Charlotte will feel the effects of their lives improving. I hope something will change that will give back to them the dignity that has been denied them for so long.

And I hope all of my super racist friends unfriend me.