The Curious Case of Mohamed Noor

Remember when Mohamed Noor was convicted of murder when he mistakenly shot Justine Ruszczyk. I knew he was going to go down because of how it is. And notice that I didn’t define “it”. Because most of us who have to live with “it” know how “it” is. That’s why even though they say their hands were tied in Louisville, ________.

And yes, I know they are different states. But are they really?

I know I’m going to fail miserably at articulating this. But, here it goes.

We don’t matter. We never have. Not in the way that many of us are asking to matter. (I’m not asking by the way.) The reason why I can say half the things I do is because I realized at an early age that I was playing a different game with different rules even though it might be on the same court. I’m playing a game where I accept that people who look like me matter less. There is a power and freedom that comes with realizing that you can be as good as you want to be, you can do all the “right things”, you can articulate yourself, people can be your friend to the best of their ability, you can be part of the “right religion” and other communities in some way. People may even get to know you as an individual. And still, you know that you’re one mistaken identity, one emotional outburst when seeking justice, one tear from the wrong person away from losing everything you worked for. From being proof to some that the system that protects some at the expense of the many is working as it’s supposed to. From being collateral damage or a scapegoat.

For many of us, life’s like playing chess against a computer. And I don’t underestimate the power of this machine. Too many of us don’t realize that we are asking a machine to treat us like people. Did you hear me? We are asking a machine to treat us like people. Sadly it won’t. Because it is not programmed to. That’s why Mr. Noor didn’t have a chance.

From the article:

“Wrong Complexion For Blue Protection,” one man’s sign read.

“This case is about a black Muslim immigrant,” said Ahmednur Abdirahman, 36, who was among the protesters. “They are worried about disappointing the white community. For that reason, justice was not served today.”

I know I sound like there’s no hope. And some of my friends who read this might feel like I am underestimating their care for me. But I’ll just say that all of Jesus’s friends ran away when the authorities showed up and one literally sold him out. And they say that dude performed miracles. So…

But that doesn’t mean people are utterly hopeless. It just means to me that our hope has to come from people who don’t depend on the system for them to matter. Jesus died like he didn’t matter at the hands of a system that people trusted for their meaning. So did many people throughout history who drew meaning from beyond the system. I appreciate every person who is waking up to see that we aren’t all playing the same game with the same rules. But, as long as their drawing meaning from what the game tells them their value is, I don’t ask them to give that up for me. Not because they might not be willing. Maybe they are. But rather because I know that in the game that some of us are playing there are no second chances.


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