I have written a little sporadically over the past few weeks, which is not my norm. I love to read but writing gives me pleasure. It has been my dream to build a following of readers and thinkers who would look forward to my printed thoughts and perspectives, not only on current events but how they relate to us daily. I have not commented on the death of Ahmaud Arbery because I have been busy planning the funeral of my own brother, who died unexpectedly Sunday night May 3. Although the circumstances were very dissimilar, the pain is not. I watched the deep grooves of disquiet etched on the face of Ahmaud’s father Marcus Arbery Sr. who had to muster the courage to say my son was lynched, “I got to live without my son and they lynched him. It’s just hard,” he said. Ahmaud’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones said, “I saw my son come into the world. And seeing him leave the world, it’s not something that I’ll want to see ever.”
My brother was not lynched and from all indications, he did not die in pain. We are still awaiting his autopsy report, the COVID-19 virus has slowed down everything. The younger Mr. Arbery had a mom, a dad, and siblings and I am sure several other friends and relatives. Some of whom were probably referred to by a familiar moniker in the black community, and in this case with a bit of irony as ‘running’ buddies. I am sure most of you know by now, Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down while jogging 2.23 mi. on the streets of Brunswick, Georgia. The great shame is that his name will undoubtedly be dragged through the mud of suspicion, repute, and white fear.
Much like a lot of dead young black men, even in death, we are required to prove our worth. I have thought a lot about Mr. Arbery’s death and how it relates to the death of my brother. The answer is something that too often goes unaccounted for when a black face is plastered across the airwaves in connection to his or her death, people who loved them were not suspicious they just loved, unconditionally. In a just world that is a completely understandable emotion, but as with Trayvon Martin’s parents, the parents of Jordan Davis or the friends and family of Walter Scott and countless others, media does not allow for that period of mourning they write and say is required after shootings of the innocent.
Black parents are too often forced to become instant defense attorneys, pulling together excuses, alibis, and character witnesses to justify their murdered child’s life for the gawking finger-pointing public. Trayvon Martin died clutching a bag of candy and refusing the order of a stranger to stop. Jordan Davis died because a white man was disturbed by the sounds of loud rap music. Walter Scott died because he did something unheard of, he had broken tail lights and feared arrest for missing child support payments; now excuses are being constructed saying Ahmaud Arbery died because he was ‘suspiciously’ peeking in on a new construction site in his neighborhood. Later, empty-handed, he was chased, cornered, and shot to death by Travis McMichael, son of Gregory McMichael.
My brother died at a friend’s home after a card game, he tired and took a nap, never to awake again. He was involved in an activity as normal as jogging. Rest in Peace dear brother, I am glad I do not have to make excuses for a life well-lived.
Your Brother and family