WARNING: This post contains graphic, documented footage of police and military brutality.
by Vanessa Tottle
What is there to say about being black? I held a weeping friend last night. She had clawed scratches in her deep black face. I thought that only happened in the movies.
What is there to say about being a woman? I wish I weren’t. That is what you’ve made of us: I wish I was a white man with a gun and the badge to give me freedom to exorcise my demons on the body of another.
What is there to say to you, America? You have taken all my freedoms to give to new Middle Eastern despots who do not want them, who in 20 years will turn around and need fresh wars to overthrow their horrors.
And you will send in our black babies and brown babies and red babies and yellow babies who are by then old enough to go to college but won’t, because college will be a luxury and useless in the service economy that serves white men with guns and the badge to give them freedom to exorcise their demons on my body. On the body of the daughter I may one day have. On her daughter’s body. As tradition dictates.
Ask not what you can give for your country, it was never handed out. You have to give a life in service behind a counter at minimum wage, or a life in service behind a rifle at even less.
Women have to give our bodies, which were never fully ours. They are rentals, waiting for the day their mark is called and we submit ourselves to what we’re often told is duty. The mistake was thinking we were never built on bodies, swaddled in the blisters of smallpox blankets. The mistake was thinking we were never built on bodies, on the backs of bent black slaves. The mistake was thinking we were never built on bodies, on a Mexico that stretched to Washington State. On the Iroquois and Mohawk, on Comanche, on Aztlan and Navajo and Inuit, on Puerto Ricans and Spaniards and Filipinos, on the corpses of Latin America, on Cubans, Guatemalans, on Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, Egyptians, Libyans, Afghans, Palestinians, Iraqis, Syrians, and how many dead little kids making shoes and jeans in pan-Pacific firetrap workshops.
The mistake was thinking democracy made us better than dictatorships and communists. The mistake was thinking democracy was anything but brand loyalty. The mistake was thinking a serial killer deserves to be the world’s police.
And now we are the world’s police. And look how they act. They shoot the black and poor in store aisles, at gas stations, outside convenience stores. We shoot Muslims in Iraq, in Syria, in Afghanistan. We are the country with a gun and the badge that gives us freedom to exorcise our demons on the bodies of others.
I am terrified to be a woman in America.
I am terrified to be a human in America.
I am terrified to step out of my home when in America.
I am not the only one.
If I could cut this uterus from me and lay it in Congress’ chambers as their prize, I would. If I could bleach my skin a blinding white, I would. That is what you’ve made of us. You could have it all, America, and I could go about my life free from all your terror.
Thank you to Amanda Smith for verifying all video is real footage.