It is hard to write while I am crying so this will be short. Plus, everybody else has already written All The Things. I just want to park a short reflection about Freddie Gray, Baltimore and our state of things more broadly.
I spent the day yesterday arguing with, well, everybody (it felt like) about rioting being a LEGITIMATE civic activity in a majority rule corporatocracy. I got lit up, to put it mildly. But I believe what I believe and I’m working on courage so I stand by it. I believe that we don’t get this today — this, the State acknowledging the value of a black human life — without a burned CVS and, yes, even a senior citizen community. Some people think that the cost isn’t worth it. Those people are alive so maybe they wouldn’t. But I believe it is worth it because I think life is more valuable than property and that, indeed, property depends upon life (not the other way around). Civil cases put a sticker price on dead bodies, reducing black people especially to an accounting scheme that reinscribes structural discounting of black life chances onto our very graves. We are worth X amount of dollars because of racism so our full value can never be counted by racist institutions. Actuarial science is not justice. Defending black life in the criminal justice system says we are more than a dollar amount pay-out even if it too can never fully count our costs. I think that matters.