Processing Brutality

Check out Unicorn Riot for livestream of Philandro Castile protests in the Twin Cities

Hate crime at home brings violence close. Again, we can’t ignore brutality. Again, we can’t let it eat us up.

I feel a lot of pressure to go out to protest, to do something. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I am an introvert and I actually loathe crowds, so protesting really is not my thing even when I do feel outraged at local police brutality. As I write this, I hear someone else reading my words and reminding me that black people don’t have the luxury of indulging in introversion. As I write this, I hear that I am racist and this is painful to me.

This Friday night I choose to be at home alone, to paint in my front yard.

I witness two young men beating each other on the front steps across the street. The mother screams at them to stop. I keep painting.

A woman and a man walk by and say hello to me. I ask them for suggestions on how to fill the white space. The women gets out two pieces of paper and a pen. “I love art,” she says. “People think I’m crazy, but when I get an apartment, it’s my dream to paint a door like this.”

The woman leaves me standing in my tiny front yard as dark comes, her careful sketches left behind to guide my brushstrokes. They are blue, green, yellow, and red, so simple. I am so sure of the brush in my hand, the imperfect form of each line. Movement is here.

“You’re not crazy,” I think back to her.


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