1. Because although Melissa Harris-Perry said "hope," its said in the same spirit of Cedric The Entertainer's "wish." Remember, she gave this speech at Cornell University. If she gave that speech at Cornell's House of Naturals in East St. Louis instead, I'm 99.9% certain "I hope he whooped the shit out of George Zimmerman" would have been "I wish he did whoop that motherfucker's ass."
2. Because although beating someone up is physical, expressing it that way is relatively dispassionate. It also suggests something clean. A fair fight. You "beat someone up" with your fists, because that's the honorable way to do it. You "whoop the shit out of someone," however, with fists, kicks, teeth, tree branches, garbage cans, phone books, piggybanks, and whatever the hell else you can get your hands on. It's intentionally dishonorable. This is an important distinction. She hopes Trayvon fought George Zimmerman in this dishonorable manner because she's aware — as we all are — that Zimmerman fought dishonorably.
3. Because, when the news of Zimmerman's acquittal broke, I was in my bedroom. The Wife Person and I were getting dressed, preparing to walk a couple blocks to a friend's birthday party. I remember expecting an acquittal and preparing for it, but not really being prepared for it. I remember sitting on the bed for a couple minutes, silent, anxious, and angry, trying to process what I'd just read.
I'm sharing these memories of that moment because I know many of you can do the same. You remember where you were. You remember what you were doing. You remember how you felt. Harris-Perry's words — and the rage behind them — are a remembrance of those memories and a reminder that both those feelings and the conditions that led to those feelings still exist. They're still there, dormant, lurking, festering, and we can't allow them to dissipate.
Because Trayvon Martin is dead. He was killed three years ago today. He would have been 20 years old.
He died while fighting for his life, and we live on while still fighting for ours.