So much death.
Silence on my part. #AllLivesMatter
Well I can't look away anymore.
Last week I took the time to watch and truly listen to Jesse Williams acceptance speech at the BET awards. I prayed before hand that God would remove my defenses if they were up. I prayed God would search my heart and soften me.
"what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.Now… I got more y’all – yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that toEric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt." (for the full transcript: http://time.com/4383516/jesse-williams-bet-speech-transcript/)It brought me tears. It gave me goosebumps and it was incredibly convicting. His Mom is white and his Dad is black. He has lived in a complex duality his whole life. I watched a whole room of people standing up, nodding, applauding, teary eyed. You could feel the truth of his words in your bones.
Then, a few days ago driving home, from the gym, and listening to news radio I heard the news about #AltonSterling. I didn't watch the video because I read about it, I heard about the whole thing, an interview from his sister. I couldn't watch another murder, I knew I would never forget those images because that is how I am. I store images in my mind for eternity. But I listened. "He had a gun but it was not on him" his sister said. That is when it hit me. It clicked how real this is for my black friends.
In recent years God has given me a passion for abuse and violence against women. Domestic abuse and RAPE are still prevalent, unreported and even when prosecuted the punishments are often a slap on the wrist and we shame victims and feel bad for the assailant (especially if he is a white college kid - "poor kid, his life is ruined"). Punishments for men of color are more severe when it comes to rape cases. But yet, women still don't prosecute their own abusers. Girls will keep secrets for decades because they won't be believed. We doubt victims. We shame victims. We BLAME victims. I have two daughters and since the day they were born, I have had the fear about them being abused, molested, raped, kidnapped, sexually harassed, taken advantage of because the simple fact that they are female. And thats when it clicked, truly clicked: this is EXACTLY how my black friends feel. Except take it one step further... they fear for their lives, and they fear the people that are supposed to protect them. We doubt victims. We shame victims. We BLAME victims.
Yes, I used that word. Because Alton Sterling was a victim of MURDER. He was pinned to the GROUND and shot to DEATH. If that was your husband or your mother and they had committed the same CRIME you would be just as outraged for them. Our justice system is letting us down and people are angry. Black people are angry, and I am angry for THEM just like I am angry for my daughters. When I see a convicted rapist get six months jail time for his "20 minutes of action" - I am angry. When I hear about a black kid being put in the back of a police van and then upon arrival he is dead because he was cuffed, and not put in a seat belt - I AM ANGRY. This is insane. This is wrong. Furthermore the system is treating people differently based on the color of their skin, their gender, the clothes they wear, the money they have, where they go to school. The courts ARE being persuaded by RACE and MONEY over justice and protecting liberty and freedom. The justice system is persuaded to cover its own ass versus keeping the people safe.
The reality is that it is different for my friends who are black, my friends raising black children, my white friends who are raising black children, my white friends married to black people. And if you are white and rolling your eyes then ask your fellow WHITE friends who are married to black people or who have black children ASK THEM. They will be the first to tell you of the reality that they now live in. The hate speech. The fear. This isn't some media conspiracy theory. And having a black man in the oval office doesn't mean we don't live in a racist society.
TO MY WHITE FRIENDS (ESPECIALLY COPS & THEIR SPOUSES):
In no way am I saying that EVERY white cop is going to shoot a black man or any person based on the their age, race, gender or the clothes they are wearing. There are MORE good then bad. There are. I believe that. And I can't thank you enough for all you do. I do believe in the best of every cop I meet and I know personally. But we know there is corruption, and corrupt cops. We know there is hate. We know racial profiling is real and its a problem. Can we start with accepting that? Maybe you don't do it! Okay! But you might know people in your department who do. Or maybe you do DO IT and you need to admit it, get help, search yourself, AND STOP. Maybe your Dad still tells really racist jokes. Maybe you tell sexist jokes. Well you gotta stop and not let that kind of garbage fill your mind and your heart. It is easy to get jaded. But PLEASE PLEASE stand up to the injustice. I don't know all the inter workings of the system you are apart of. But please stand against wrong you see. If your a cop you should be the first in line saying "This is NOT okay, and this is not what we stand for". Please offer solutions, or like Jesse William said:
"If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. 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."
The choice is yours. Sit down or stand up.