I had to force myself to click on the link: Mother of a man fatally shot entering my own home speaks out. My first thought, “please don’t let this be another black man being killed.” My second thought was, the anguish and grief that mother must feel. How could things go so wrong that she should lose her son?
What’s really f##ked up, that my first worry was please don’t let it be another black man being killed. I feel like my first thought should be for the compassion of a grieving mother, or how do we provide the leadership and services for young people, so they don’t end up in the sights of law enforcement firearms.
I grew up in White Center, a small, impoverished area just outside of Seattle. Eventually, I taught at my old high school. I became Welcome Back Kotter. Aside from just loving the kids, my goal was to help them break out of poverty and a thuggish life, all colors, black through white. Sometimes there was real sh#t. I had gang leaders and members as students. And, I had to confront those gang leaders with a loving, but don’t you ever cross that line firmness, “don’t you ever bring a gun or conflicting gang violence into this school.” Yes, I’ve been threatened a few times, and yes that was scary shit. Just so you’re aware, white, Russian, Southeast Asian, and Samoan, all of which I had remarkable connections and a loving relationship with their communities.
I have tremendous respect for law enforcement and the difficulties they face every day so that I don’t have to. White Center lost a dear Sheriff to the violence. Man, was he one of the good ones. I don’t want to play polarizing politics with this issue. We’ve had more than our share where I live. I live in Seattle, and we lost a remarkable police chief, to a political crossfire between our mayor and our city Council. They played politics in a no-win situation instead of doing the right thing. So, our police chief left. She is one of the good ones too. She was making Seattle’s Police Department a better place. To protect and serve.
Turns out, none of my story matters.
And my first thought as I went to click on the link was, “please don’t let this be another black man being killed.” I clicked.
Tamala Payne lost her 23-year-old son, Casey Goodson. I watched the video even though I wanted to turn away. And I cried. I will keep looking through the tears and not away. And I read some of the newspaper reporting in the local Columbus area. It doesn’t add up. Or worse, it does.
Casey Goodson was black. And now again, so are my tears.