Buffalo, New York is known for large snow accumulations and buffalo wings. It is where I moved to at the age of sixteen, making both a Southerner and a Northerner out of me. It is the home of the Buffalo Bills and a little over a quarter million people, including my mother and siblings. On May 15, it became the site of another mass shooting.
Down by ten souls, Celestine Chaney, 65, Roberta A. Drury, 32, Andre Mackneil, 53, Katherine Massey, 72, Margus D. Morrison, 52, Heyward Patterson, 67, Aaron Salter Jr. 55, Geraldine Talley, 62, Ruth Whitfield, 86, and Pearl Young, 77, allegedly due to an 18-year-old who live- streamed it. Technology has its pluses, but this has me at a deficit. It’s too much subtraction for persons who are already struggling with inherited minuses.
This is the downside and evidence not of the underbelly but the masked side of white supremacy, which has humanity in a downward spiral. The alleged shooter is no “lone wolf” but is cloaked in a colonizing theology, that believes that socially colored white people are ordained to take everything for themselves until there is nothing left for anybody else, save bullet casings and bodies now hollow shells. How much are we willing to cover up? How many bodies is the African American community expected to carry? How many next of kin are we supposed to bury— before this becomes too much?
I, for one, want to lay this burden down. Because the need for the color white to stay on top is keeping us all down. Down in the dumps, we are left to salvage what is left after those who choose to oppress have picked over people, places, and things because they have the white privilege to do so. We must pick up the pieces and the bodies cut down, taken for something that is not needed and used to fuel white power.
Who do you have to think you are to believe that murdering human being according to the social coloring of skin is normal, natural and the way things must be? That this is suitable grounds for hunting down human beings? The argument goes, “Because I am losing my place and I’m supposed to be in the majority. Because it is better than being replaced by a socially constructed minority.” It’s a number game, I see. But is anybody keeping a tally? Or do these bodies not count?
Do they only count when politicians are attempting to score political points? Oh, well then, let’s make it count. “Let’s give it the fifteen minutes of attention it deserves. Let’s put a spotlight on it so we shine a light on our opponent, who is not the right person for the job. Elect me and I’ll better serve this country.”
Senseless violence, we’ve got to make this count for something. “They won’t die in vain,” we promise. But they are dying because of the sins of pride and vanity. I’m sick of seeing it.
Innocent victims, this shouldn’t have happened. What is the reasoning? So, beyond our logic, we conclude that the shooter must be crazy. But millions of Americans go to therapy, take their medication regularly and go about their day without murdering anyone.
No, he’s not crazy and if that were the case, then there is certainly a method to his madness. He drove several hours and hundreds of miles to this exact location. He did his research. A predominately African American community, he knew who would be there. This keeps happening because some of us won’t call a thing a thing. I guess it is harder than burying people murdered senselessly.
This is the result of white supremacy, the belief that socially colored white people are the best of us human beings, worthy of the sacrifice of African American, Asian American, Mexican American, Latin American, and Indigenous people’s lives. It is the way this country started, and it is what keeps it going for some, I surmise. But it is not what keeps me going back to Buffalo, New York.
I drive six and half hours for pizza and buffalo wings, for friends and family, to spend time in a community that holds so many good memories. When I think of Buffalo, I think of La Nova’s pizza, the Anchor Bar’s loaded potatoes and Louie’s hotdogs. Now every time I think about a place I call home, these names come to me. That’s not what any city should be known for.