It’s not about Darren Wilson, though I have a hard time believing that a six-foot-three, 210-pound cop could be tossed around like a “five year old holding on to Hulk Hogan.” I have a harder time believing his story that he “felt that another of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse … the third one could be fatal if he hit me right…” after seeing his photos after the incident.

It’s not about the destruction of property, though in the days leading up to the riot, Michael Brown Sr. called for peace despite his loss, community activists attempted to work with local officials to defuse the situation, peacekeepers embedded themselves in the crowd, and afterwards local volunteers aided in cleanup.

It’s about how treating young men and women of color with suspicion as tiny children affects them permanently throughout their lives. It’s about the fact that our society sees Black men as so inherently dangerous that a twelve-year-old boy can be shot for having a bb gun while a White man can walk around openly displaying a semiautomatic weapon, argue with and insult the cops, and not even be charged with a misdemeanor. How Black mothers must prepare their sons for the way they will be viewed by the police:

“I knew you were home,” he said to his mom when he finally made it home after being frisked. “I knew I was about to get stopped, and I thought about running home to you.”

His mother froze.

“I forgot to tell him,” she said. “I forgot to tell him: Don’t run. Don’t run or they’ll shoot you.”

Her 12-year-old cried when he told her what had happened and asked if he was stopped because he was black.

“Probably, yeah,” she said.

“I just want to know, how long will this last?” he asked her.

That’s when she started to cry.

“For the rest of your life,” she said.

It’s not one man’s action, one man’s death. It’s about four hundred years of accumulated mistreatment, anger, ignorance, and willingness to sacrifice our neighbors’ rights in favor of maintaining our own comforts. About how people react when stripped of their futures by prejudice, their sons and daughters shot down, reaction disproportionate to their actions, without recourse. How it happens with such regularity. About how so many of us do not have the luxury of feeling uncomfortable, and then moving on:

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