On white tears

Tuesday, June 18, 2013: the soothing moan of an upright bass wafts through the halls of the underground passageway. An older brown face peers from behind the instrument morosely scraping out the classical melody. As I pass, an open case with scattered change and a few dollar bills. I toss him a $5 I was going to use towards a train pass.

Monday, July 1, 2013: bass music echoes from around the corner as I enter the turnstile, a more modern tune this time. I retrieve my wallet, resolving to pay my student loan a few days late so I can offer $20 this time. As I round the corner I am presented with the visage of a graying white man bowing softly, at his feet, a case piled high with bills.

I put away my wallet.

I put away my wallet because

Wednesday, June 5, 2002: a nine-month manhunt begins for a little white girl who was abducted in a town far enough away for me to have never heard about it and yet she is all I hear about for several weeks. She is found a few miles from her home by the heroic efforts of her community. Simultaneously, a black girl half her age and two hours away from me goes missing and there is barely any news coverage. She is left to chew herself out of her restraints and report her own abductors and by the time I find out about her she has been home for 7 months. Without a media frenzy to assist in her rescue, I wonder if she had any other choice to survive than to be her own hero. To compensate, I look for girls like hers in the faces of brown children hurried past me on the street. I avert my gaze from little white faces lest I become distracted in my hunt and miss another little black girl who may not have the strength to save herself this time.

I put away my wallet because

Saturday, march 23, 2012: a young black girl is cast as a main character in a movie retelling of a popular novel. A white fan admits that he isn’t as sad that she dies now that he knows she’s black. I am twice as sad about her death to make up for his comment. I am half as sad about the death of a white character to balance it out.

I put away my wallet because

Monday, June 10, 2013: a white man finally goes on trial for the murder of a black boy he killed over a year ago. Since then the victim has been given a post-mortem drug test, has had his criminal history researched, and his phone records were subpoenaed to support claims of his guilt. But he is dead and not on trial. I harbor so much indignant rage for innocent black boys being blamed for their own deaths that I have no anger left for a school full of equally defenseless white children shot in cold blood.

I put my wallet away because as of July 1, 2013: I can no longer feel pain over the tears of a people who collectively can’t cry for me. I have no money left, I’ve already paid for this song as many times as I can afford.

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Comments

4 comments on “On white tears”
  1. energywicce says:

    You write beautifully

  2. Amber says:

    You write beautifully.

  3. Lauren D. says:

    Why should we dehumanize that homeless man? Why should he be the object of a political act? Wouldn’t a better method be to double down on humanizing people in the face of dehumanization — double down on making people subjects, individuals, humanized?

    1. The Colored Fountain says:

      what homeless man?

      also, who are the we you are referring to? this is a story about an individual person and their individual choices and the things that motivated those choices, not a call to action. how you chose to receive and use what you receive from the story is for you to decide.

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