I’ve never lived in an area where a serial killer has been on the loose. I imagine it’s a very tense time, where everyone is on edge, locking their doors, hoping for the best and suspecting every shifty eyed stranger of being him.
Well, if you’ve also never experienced such tension or fear, you’re in luck because right now, in 2016, these anxieties are in full effect.
The rampant (recorded) violence by police has struck again, and this time, much closer to home than I’m comfortable with. My dad and brother live in Tulsa, OK, the latest location of a string of legal homicides by “law enforcement.”
The fact that I have to be worried about the lives of my brother and father is a given. We all fear losing a loved one. But the idea that they could be taken from me by those being paid to protect and serve, while they were doing nothing illegal? While standing still, with their hands raised in surrender? Killed because of the color of their skin? That’s upsetting.
Maybe I’m being dramatic? Maybe I shouldn’t worry? I’m sure every single family who has received the news that their loved one was murdered by a cop thought the same. thing. Car trouble. CAR TROUBLE. Routine traffic stops. THESE are the things black men have been murdered for. They weren’t running from a shootout with their pockets full of drugs. They weren’t fleeing a crime scene. They were living their lives like the rest of us. They just happened to be black at the same time. And that is infuriating.
And YES, gang violence takes a lot of our black men. YES there is a lot of crime within the black community. That’s NOT. THE. POINT. The point is that white police officers, licensed to carry weapons and required to serve and protect our communities are MURDERING these men unjustly and getting. away. with. it. They are not being punished by the laws that this ‘great’ country set in place for those who BREAK THE LAW. That’s the point of this. There are legions of issues within our own separate communities, but that isn’t the point. If someone said to you, ‘hey lets go out for pizza’ and you said ‘but I also like tacos, mac and cheese and chinese food.’ You would’ve MISSED THE POINT of their question. We know you freakin like tacos. But for tonight, DO YOU WANT PIZZA?
Now, some may say ‘well what’s his face was selling cigarettes’ and ‘whats his name was being belligerent’ and whatever other excuses you’d like to come up with for why cops should be allowed to just pop someone that spooks them. There was a news story recently about a college kid who murdered and partially ate two older people that were casually chilling in their garage. Guess what? He’s still alive and our justice system is now handling him. Guy who killed and injured all those poor people in the Boston marathon? Jail. White kid who sat in a black church for a bible study and then promptly murdered those in attendance? Yeah, he’s getting his day in court.
So why weren’t these black men who were supposedly breaking the law given the chance to see a judge for their petty crimes? If such a crime was being committed? Because black lives don’t matter.
“But I’m a white person and I’m not racist. I don’t see color.” Well good for you. Great. Happy you don’t have racial prejudices weighing down your conscious. But can you do us all a favor and see some color? Can you see that there is a serious problem in this country and that electing a black president didn’t magically end racism? Your silence, your refusal to address this in your conversation with your friends, that’s part of the problem. IGNORING it is the problem. Because that’s what America has done. And that isn’t working.
Black people do not have the power to change any of this, because we’ve never had power. I know that not all white people are evil racists. That isn’t the point. The point is that unless white people start talking to each other, opening up about their conscious and unconscious biases, about systemic racism and about how this country still hasn’t purged itself of the sickness that is racism, we will still have cops with guns in their hands and hatred in their hearts. We’ll still have presidential candidates who can OPENLY say (with no repercussions) that African-Americans should vote for him because we are jobless and our communities are in shambles so ‘what do we have to lose.’ We will continue to be broken. If those in power don’t look inward and acknowledge their wrongs and right those wrongs, nothing will change.
All black people have right now is our anger. All we have are our protests, our riots, our chants, our grief. Saying to a black person that “all lives matter” is doing what’s always been done to us. Taking our voice away, telling us that we don’t matter and our fears and concerns don’t matter. We want to be respected.
I don’t know if there’s anything I can do but rant on the internet, share my thoughts with friends and sit down for the national anthem. Pray? Hope for the best? I don’t know. I just wish more people cared, that more people spoke up, that there was an open dialogue that could make America work towards the idyllic land of the free that we wish we were, but are certainly not.