Saturday, 16 August 2014


By now we have all heard of Mike Brown and his untimely death at the hands of a police officer.   There is a lot of speculation at this point but the bottom line is that the Black community has lost a child and is angry, confused and stricken with grief.
I recently posted a video to my personal Facebook page of Mike Brown's best friend recanting the events that took place.  After posting the video I received an private message from a "friend";  A white American male, between the ages of 35-50, educated, well -off and with a distinguished profession…a lawyer.  He’s had quite the opposite of my life's experience as well as the life experience of Mike Brown.  Although we have vastly different life experiences we actually have sustained a 15 year + friendship.  This is the message he chose to send me:

White male:  "That kid on the video sounds very implausible IF I heard him correctly.  I've never ever heard of a cop trying to pull someone into a car by reaching out of a car and trying to pull someone in.  It's dangerous, the cop has no physical leverage...basically, the cop is a sitting duck if he tries to do that  and he has no mobility while he's seated in the car.  Second, the kid who was shot was 6 foot three inches tall and weights almost 300 pounds.  Unless the cop is twice his size and weight, why would he try to do that to such a powerful guy.  It doesn't make sense.  I have a son and would never want to lose mine.  But i would like to know the facts before condemning the cop.

Let’s pause here.  At no point in the video did Mike’s best friend mention how big and tall the white cop was, n’or did I in my posting.  He did however find the fact so pressing that it urged him to send me a private message to point out the fact that this was in the eyes of his community “a big scary black guy”.
Here’s my response to him:

Me:  I'm not sure what the fact that he is 6'3 and 300 lbs has to do with the fact that an unarmed boy with his hands up was shot 7-9 times. I also don't know why you felt the need to defend your white counterpart to me in a private message. The post is public, put your thoughts there if you truly stand by them. 
I realize you have a son, but please don't pretend that the concept of guilty until proven innocent or shoot first ask questions later does not exist. Your son will never be criminalized based on his height or weight because he's not black.

His response:

White Male: I'm not defending the cop. I have no idea whether he's guilty or innocent.  All I know is that if i heard the witness's account correctly it doesn't seem plausible to me.  That was my only conclusion. I have no idea who the cop is and I have no idea whether he's a criminal.  IF Michael brown was shot outside of the law he was "guilty before proven innocent."  Right now,  for a lot of people the cop is guilty before being proven innocent.  A lot of damage was done to businesses by looting.  None of those shop owners had anything to do with the shooting.  How does that help.

Let’s pause again.  He brings up a good point in that he has no idea whether the cop is guilty or innocenthe did however feel the need to point out all the reasons why he thought Mike Brown was guilty and that his friend's account was implausible.   Also at no point in the video did Mike Brown’s best friend speak about the riots nor did I bring it up.  My posting actually had two words which were ironically enough “No words”.  Our community is grieving, our hearts are heavy, a college bound young man lost his life.  The riots have nothing to do with that conversation; they are after the fact and certainly did not contribute to his death.  However he thought it was important that I know what “a lot of our people" are doing right now.  

Let’s move on to my response:

Me:  I realize you are a've made that clear.  Now let me remind you that before you were a lawyer, you were a human being.  I want to tell you a story.  

There was a man who was a well off, affluent, educated member of the majority and by some chance fate would have it that he became friends with a girl named...let's call her Tina.  Tina was a member of multiple minority groups. Young, black, female, children to immigrants, blue-collar...quite the opposite of his life's experience.  Now Tina's community had recently experienced a loss, one of their own was murdered.  Her community is currently grieving, angry, confused and depressed.  In a response to a post that Tina made about the situation, her friend decided to private message her to remind her that although they had lost a black man...he was after all a big scary black man. (6'3, 300 lbs to be exact?) and also that his friend and witness sounded like he was lying.  Crazy story right?  Well this actually happened to me believe it or not.  Now before you respond to my story with your lawyers hat on may I remind you that I did not request your legal services.  Let the story resonate with you for a moment and instead pretend that like the pair in the story…we actually were friends of 16 years.

Did hearing his response re-told from an outside eye help?  Nope.  He simply went on to say what a prolific writer I was and that I was making obvious assumptions about his blue collar upbringing! That is totally my fault I mean what was I thinking?  Of course growing up in a society where institutionalized racism criminalizes black bodies and benefits the white race must have been far more of a struggle for him than any of our black men. (insert sarcasm in case you didn't pick it up)

I was in my car on my way home from what was quite an amazing morning and literally had to pull over tears streaming down my face, shaking from anger and frustration by his audacity and sheer ignorance. I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and although racism exists world wide.  I’m not going to pretend I know what race relations are like in the town of Ferguson, St Louis.  My friend who is a white male American however, did give me a glimpse into it.  We will always be the bad guy.

Regardless of how big or tall the white armed cop is, his concern lies with the size of the black unarmed teen.  Regardless of the fact that Zimmerman may himself wear a hoodie on a rainy day, the concern is that a black looming male was spotted wearing one.  Despite the fact that Renisha McBride was unarmed and on her own when she knocked on a stranger's door, the concern is that the homeowner became so afraid upon seeing her black face that he decided to shoot it off through the screen door.  Yes, I am upset. 

Coincidentally my godson’s name is Mike Browne.  ALL of our sons are Mike Brown.  When we experience a loss, we all experience a loss. My heart aches for the parents and I pray that justice is served and they are somehow able to find closure.  I cannot imagine what they are going through right now.  I implore all of you, white or black to be sensitive during this time of unrest and keep the family in your prayers.


  1. I feel for the family. I now have to teach my boys how to protect themselves from the police smh.....

  2. This is the scary/sad truth of being black and a male I America. There is already a stigma of being black and when you throw being a male in the mix... I fear for my husband and I'm fearful of raising children in a world where we have to train them up to protect themselves BUT don't come off as being the "angry black". Because I feel that this is what people assume. We do not have children so I can't begin to imagine what toll this takes on parents, but this is something I think about a lot.


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Hi, I'm Toni. A natural hair enthusiast, blogger and jewelry designer who enjoys experimenting with all things hair and beauty. I hope to share a bit along the way. :)