When I was younger, I used to spend lots of time on my outward appearance.
Artfully applying makeup so the perfect face would show.
Choosing just the right outfit to make the best of my "good" features, to downplay my not-so-good 0nes.
Practicing my syrupy, southern voice so that my words would sound "right"--no matter what I was saying.
And my inimitable grandmother would look at me and say, "Your slip is hanging."
Meaning, my foundation, the base upon which I built all that artifice, wasn't in order.
Shall I explain what I'm getting at?
Do you know these people? Aside from the fact that they were unbelievably brave and principled?
Do you ever wonder why Rosa Parks instead of Claudette Colvin (who'd refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, AL, bus nine months before Mrs. Parks?) was the face of the Montgomery bus boycott?
It was a lot to expect, this demand for perfection, this unspoken implication that African Americans had to be more than human, had to prove themselves worthy of fair treatment, of justice.
But I believe it was necessary then, to stave off attacks from enemies of the movement. Because a flaw, a sign of poor judgment, an episode of human error could be used to question the validity of not only the people involved, but the movement itself.
Well, skip ahead half-a-century, and AAPP makes an observation that struck a chord within me, that "white liberals and white bigots seem to agree."
See, when faced with the question of how the hell can you be so silent in the face of injustice, of unequal treatment, of blatant racism, rather than admit you dropped the ball* or more importantly, that you just didn't get it, you reached back and borrowed those old techniques for impugning the movement.
For people who didn't know much about the Jena Six, suddenly you were awfully concerned about offenses for which Mychal Bell had been convicted.
And you referenced the old, "I just can't understand what they're saying!" I was honestly boggled by the "But... but... I couldn't get clear information" and "Little comprehensible info was published about it."
Oh,and "Well they've been telling us we can't stand for them!" No, you can't. But you can stand with us.
Even if you don't, guess what? We're still going to see and fight the injustice in the treatment of this child:
We're going to press for justice for them, too. They deserve it. They are worth it.
As to all your excuses, your demands for a hero, your offensive "I don't understand?"
I'm saying, "Y'all's slip is hanging."
*For example, when it came to posting about the Dunbar Village case and the physical and sexual assault upon Megan Williams, I dropped the ball, trying to wait until I could compose some analysis. I was wrong. I can admit that.