He was sent to pick up his little brothers from Northeast 115th Terrace. By mistake and without GPS, he ended up at 115th Street instead. A confusing 3 blocks away. He rang the bell and Mr. Andrew Lester answered the door and promptly shot him. He then stood over Ralph Yarl and shot him again. For good measure, I guess.
Wounded, Ralph made it to 3 different homes before someone finally agreed to help him. They told him to lie on the ground with his hands up.
Being a 16 year old Black boy in Kansas City, Missouri means you don’t get to be without GPS, don’t get to be confused or end up at the wrong house, don’t get to knock on the door expecting the adult who answers to see you as a human being. You’re an animal. A criminal. A thing to be taken down.
Shooting Black youth on sight while Christian nationalist legislators invade schools across the country to protect the feelings of white children presumed to not have the fortitude and wherewithal to handle the truth and facts of American history – tells us what we need to know about America.
Sick. Diseased. Moral monsters.
Being Black is not America’s problem.
Being white and incapable of naming and addressing the anti Black narratives that live in your soul, that make you trigger happy when it comes to Black children, that empowers you to scroll pass Ralph’s face and not be enraged and radicalized – that is the problem. And I have it on good authority that God Almighty is supremely pissed about it.
His family members are doing what so many Black family members have had to do because the press will portray this Black child as deserving to be taken down like an animal – they are talking about his grades, his artistry, his goodness, his character. As if they have to justify Ralph’s worthiness.
Will we need a Green Book to mark the homes where the occupants have declared creating hell and misery on earth for Black children to be their vocation? Will we need to post lawn signs and stickers where neighbors have declared that a bleeding Black child is not their concern?
I’m weary. And I wish there was a North Star, a Drinking Gourd, a Canada even – because I’d gather Black children up and we’d start walking to freedom.
But there isn’t and so I’ll have to scream like Rachel.