I am Darren Wilson.
Which is to say I am guilty in the slaying of Michael Brown.
Think of me as the guy who drives the getaway car - who provides the means of escape.
Or think of me as the guy who, with malice aforethought, plots to establish the means by which the crime can be committed.
Either way, I'm guilty as sin.
Last weekend was the first anniversary of Michael Brown, Jr's slaying. On Sunday morning I stood with clergy at the spot where his dead body lay for five hours spilling blood into the street on a hot summer afternoon - serving notice to others that this, too, would be their fate if their dared to, what, walk down the street in a way that raised suspicion in the mind of a white cop? Like the crucified bodies of insurrectionists that once littered the Roman landscape, Michael Brown's body lay untouched in the street as a witness to what white cops can do with impunity.
The message became clear: young, black men, don't piss off white cops. When you walk in the street, try to do so in a way that doesn't arouse the suspicion or ire of a white cop. You, too, will end up dead with no means of arguing in court that your death was anything but justified.
You see, not only will the white cop who shot you defend his actions, whites all over the country will a.) reveal the vast conspiracy that has been orchestrated to remind you that you are alive only so long as a white man allows you to be alive and b.) play their role in defending the white cop who shot you.
Take, for example, Ben Stein. When the public outcry about an unarmed black man being shot and killed by a white cop was proffered, Ben Stein reminded us all that being big and scary (which is to say "black") is the same as being armed:
"The idea of calling this poor man 'unarmed' when he was six-foot-four, 300 pounds, full of muscles, apparently -- from what I read in the New York Times -- on marijuana, to call him unarmed is like calling Sonny Liston unarmed or Cassius Clay unarmed. I mean, this... he wasn't unarmed. He was armed with his incredibly strong, scary self."
This is the thinking of whites everywhere. We've conspired to teach our children that black men are dangerous. We've conspired to breed fear and contempt in the hearts and minds of our white children. We've conspired to come to the defense of whites who kill blacks - and created the context in which doing so will easily be justified because to be black is to be weapon.
The white men in my life who mentored me into adulthood prepared me well for my role in the conspiracy. They taught me to fear. They taught me to eye with suspicion. They taught me to deride. They taught me to demean and diminish. I became an accomplice to this and countless other brutal slayings because of a lifetime of complicitous silence; because of a lifetime of willing and grateful accrual of all that my white privilege afforded me; because of my unwillingness to create any moment of real substance and consequence that would effect a change to the pernicious investment in whiteness America has established as the social construct through which power and privilege are distributed.
You don't need to thank me, Darren. In fact, I wish you wouldn't. You unilaterally determined that the young black man you saw walking down the street last August didn't deserve to live any more. I served as accomplice in the establishment and perpetuation of the culture which grants you your impunity.
My complicity ends now. I choose to break the silence.
I choose to turn state's evidence against you - to break the code of silence and testify both to my compliance and your guilt. I won't hide any longer behind the winking eyes of privilege that communicate our complicity in this.
You killed a man without warrant. There may not yet exist a court of law willing to hold you accountable for that. But if I have anything to say about this, and apparently I do, the court of public opinion will continue to add to it white allies who no longer choose privilege over justice. I hold out the hope that, while it appears that no jail cell awaits you, the punishment that ensues meets the measure of the injustice and indignity you perpetrated.
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place