Quote of the Day

You ain’t shit.

That’s the lesson I took from this case.

You ain’t shit.

These words are deep because these are words I’ve heard my whole life: I heard from adults in my childhood that I needed to be “about something” other than all that banging and clanging and music I play all the time. As I got older, I heard I wasn’t as good as so-and-so is at music. All the “you ain’t shit” stories I got — Jesus, it’s a wonder I made it.

Rich asks, “Wait, you’re not surprised, are you?” I’m not surprised at all, but that doesn’t mean it stings any less.

I should be angry, right? I remember when the Sean Bell verdict came out and I just knew, “Oh, God, New York is gonna go up in flames.” And yet no one was fuming. It was like, “[Shrug] … No surprises here. That’s life.”

Rich asks again, “Are you surprised … that you ain’t shit?”

It hurts to hear it, and I say, “I’m not surprised, but who wants to be reminded?” What fat person wants to hear that they aren’t pleasing to the eye? Or what addict wants to hear they are a constant F-up? Who wants to be reminded that — shrug — that’s just the way it is? -Questlove: Trayvon Martin and I Ain’t Shit

I would recommend Questlove’s essay in New York Magazine as a must-read, but it isn’t enough to simply read it. People need to read it and learn from it.

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  • BillAndersoot

    It’s a sad story, but what’s especially sad is that Quest Love seems to think it’s about him–what he looks like, his hair, the color of his skin, whatever. I feel sorry for him that he’s taking on others’ fears as if he was the cause of it.

    Last week, a friend and I went to a guy’s apartment to buy a guitar amp. We’re both white (he’s whiter than me–looks like McCaulay Culkin in his teen years.) Anyway, we rang the buzzer to the guy’s apartment but he didn’t answer. It was a nice day, so we decided to wait. This is uptown Minneapolis, nice neighborhood, nice building, two nice guys just hanging out talking. While we were waiting, a woman approached the door, looked at us, and passed us by. I saw her walk to the corner and then stand there for awhile, looking very distraught. After a couple of minutes, she came back, quickly stepped past us and, as she was reaching for the door handle, I heard her whimper. Actually whimper. Like a dog that’s afraid it’s gonna get hit. She gave us one last terrified glance, pulled the door closed behind her and ran up the stairs. It wasn’t us. We weren’t doing anything. It was her. She was scared of us for whatever reason. But I’m white, so I don’t need to wonder if I did something wrong. Like being born black, for instance. (I was being sarcastic there–did you catch that?)

    A few years back, I lived at Cedar Square West on Minneapolis’ West Bank. One day I got into the elevator and noticed two little girls, both black, already in the elevator. As soon as I stepped in, they huddled together and stared at me. The littlest one said to the other, “Look at that white man. I hope he don’t kill us.” I don’t know what kind of sick creep taught those little girls that a white man wanted to kill them, but it wasn’t me. I smiled at them, but I really didn’t know what to say. I just wanted them to stop being scared.

    I think maybe that’s what Quest wants too. For people to just stop being scared. Stop treating him weird. But it’s not his fault. It really isn’t.