I went to a writer’s workshop yesterday. The workshop leader was teaching us how to write a good query letter. “To write a good query letter,” he said, “We have to write something that people care about.”
I froze and then slid into a historical, existential form of African American sadness.
Who cares about the death of an unknown Black woman, victim of a car crash who knocked on someone’s door looking for help in the wee hours, and ends up dead from a shotgun bullet to her face?
I care. And I hope that you will care too.
I admit I have grown numb to acts of gun violence. Sandy Hook, military bases, and workplace gun violence and the list goes on and on and on and on and on and on until it becomes a giant blurred and globular sphere of pain. Pain that I want to go away. Pain that I want to numb.
Part of this numbness is needed to survive (otherwise what role would numbness play in the healing and emotional survival process) but unfortunately part of this numbness hardens my heart when thinking about the victims of these senseless acts.
When numbness prevents us from caring for people then I think we need to find a way to step out of the numbness. And though I never met you Renisha McBride; I want you to know that I will never forget your name and what happened to you.
I believe that no one should be killed by gun violence.
Your murder represents to me a collision of several psychological and legal phenomena; racial profiling, hate crimes, and stand your ground laws.
When Blacks are killed because of racial stereotypes, and the justification of these killings are then protected within legal frameworks, then the erroneous ideas of both law and psychology must be addressed.
I used the word assassination in my title because the definition offered by Websters, fits this senseless act to the T.
1) To murder (a prominent person) by surprise attack, as for political reasons;
2) To destroy or injure treacherously.
The definition of prominent is; 1) Projecting outward or upward from a line or surface; protuberant, 2) immediately noticeable, conspicuous, and 3) widely known, eminent.
Renisha McBride was part of a long line of Black women who have always been eminent, noticeable, and now, in this instance, treacherously destroyed by a surprise attack.