I’m trying my best to remain in my faith. To believe in a future where my black brothers and sisters will be equals to every other race. Where society will see them as humans. Where they will be treated with respect, dignity, and considered citizens of the United States and not criminals.
I’m trying my best to believe in humanity. To believe the good in the world will outweigh the evil. That people will open their eyes to the injustices that are happening around them. That they will stand with those who are marginalized, discriminated against, and profiled.
But my patience is being TRIED.
My compassion is being tested.
My peace has been shattered.
Every time a new video emerges of a black man or woman being manhandled, shot, choked, and killed by a member of a police department that was sworn to protect and serve. I am outraged. Not just because of the way we are treated as sub humans. But because of the way those with privilege see the handling of our bodies, when treated as rag dolls, as being the culmination of our own actions and “resistance.” That the blame lies with us and not those who we are supposed to place our faith in.
Stop telling us if we hadn’t resisted things could have turned out differently. Any normal humans flight or fight instincts will kick-start when bodily harm is being done. You don’t just sit there and let a person kick you repeatedly in the ribs while lying on the ground. Your natural instinct is to either move to avoid the blows or curl up to protect the area that is being attacked. You don’t just let someone pick you up off of the ground and body slam you to the pavement without some form of flailing of your arms and legs. You don’t lay motionless as you are being tasered. Your body shakes, thrashes, and convulses. When you are being tackled by a grown man you don’t just let him drive you into the ground with the full weight and momentum of his body. You tense, and twist to place yourself in a better position to take the impact. This IS NOT resistance. This is our natural survival instincts as humans.
I FEAR for the black males in my family. A fear that those with privilege will never understand. A fear that is so all consuming that as I look towards my future and my wants. I realize I would avoid having a son at all costs. Not because I don’t want one, but because I don’t want to have to explain to my son what profiling is. I don’t want to have to explain to my son that he will be seen as a criminal first and a human second. That fear of his skin will make others act irrationally. I don’t want to have to explain to my son that the school to prison pipeline could be his future. I don’t want to have to explain to my son even if he has the best education, career, etc he will still be labeled only by his skin. I don’t want to have to stand on the sidelines and watch my son navigate a world that was built to oppress him. I don’t want to live with the knowledge that I can’t protect him. I don’t want to have his life prematurely ended because of the stereotypes and views the world has on the black male. That pain would be too much to bear.
So I pray. I pray every day that each morning when I wake up there won’t be a new video of a senseless killing of one of my black brothers and sisters. I pray that I don’t see a press conference where a mother mourns her son in the public eye because that’s the only way to seek justice. To put your pain in front of millions. To force our police departments to acknowledge that a “human” was killed not just a “black boy.” I pray for my brother, my nephew, my cousins, my uncles, and my father. I pray for the day that I won’t have to tell them to “be careful” every time I leave them. I pray for the day when I don’t have to ask them to let me know when they get home. I pray for the day I can finally breath because I’m always holding my breath. Always worried. Always scared.
I WANT to have faith in our police officers. I want to believe they are here to protect and serve. I know fundamentally not all of them are bad. But when you as a police officer can watch a video of one of your own outright MURDER a black man and NOT say something. I have no faith in you. When you can watch a man be pinned to the ground with nowhere to go, no way to move, be unarmed and STILL be shot and you STILL say nothing. I have no faith in you. When you get asked by a radio DJ “This looks bad right” and you CAN’T even agree that the video you’ve seen ‘LOOKS BAD.’ I have no faith in you. When you let your fear control your actions and reactions towards people of color. I have no faith in you.The actions of a few reflect on the many because the many NEVER say anything. You swore to protect and serve the citizens of your state, of the country. Part of protecting is speaking out when an injustice has occurred. You want my faith in you. You need to earn it.
I am tired. So very tired. Of having to make the same statements over and over again. I’m tired of having to explain to other people, mainly white, what it means to be black. I’m tired of having to PROVE that we are treated differently. As if my experience, my cousins experiences, my black male friends experiences, are all made up. I don’t speak out on #blacklivesmatter because I’m telling you that your life doesn’t matter and mine matters more. I speak out for you to understand my life, my brothers, my nephew’s, my uncles, and my father’s life should matter the same as yours. I speak out because we have been silent for too long. I speak out because I pray for the day when #alllivesmatter. But that day is not today. What I speak of is not a direct attack on you as a person. It is an attack on a system that for hundreds of years has oppressed my people. If you take it as a personal attack, that says more about you than it does me. You see, I get it makes you uncomfortable. But I’ve been uncomfortable my whole life. You can deal. I’ve had to.
I won’t apologize for my anger or my frustration. I won’t apologize for my outrage. The system is broken and it’s killing those of color. Not just at the hands of white cops. But at the hands of school administrators who use their “discretion” to suspend a 12 year old black boy from school for “staring” at a white girl, while said white girl the day before had poured milk all over another student, but had received no punishment. An occurrence that black children are all too familiar with and in some cases lead to the school to prison pipeline. A system that is killing those of color at the hands of court systems that have been locking up black men for decades for the distribution of marijuana that has now “miraculously” become legal for medicinal use in 25 states and yet these men still remain behind bars. A system that is killing those of color by gentrifying black neighborhoods and pushing those black residents and black owned businesses to the poorer areas within cities. A system that is killing those of color by allowing those of privilege to bury their heads in the sand and believe that racism doesn’t exist.
I know the backlash I could get from this blog post. I know the arguments that can arise from it. To be perfectly honest. I don’t care. If you are not for a solution than you are a part of the problem and your opinion means nothing. I mean you’ve been telling us for years pretty much the same thing. To stay quiet. To not make waves. Don’t rock the boat. As Jesse Williams so eloquently put in his acceptance speech at the 2016 BET Awards “If you have no interest, if you have no interest, in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.”