Reeling from the news of yet another innocent black person having been shot and killed at the hands of paid public servants, I hesitantly scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, only to be left frustrated with the excuses and justifications for another death. I was not in the mood. Not today. Just when I thought I’d had enough, I came upon a poignant post by Elle Danielle... written to her white friends:
You’ve probably noticed that most of your African American friends seem consumed with posting about the current events, specifically the most recent shootings. You may be tired of seeing these posts, you may not understand why we keep talking about it, or you may wish we’d go back to posting about more trivial trending topics ― to make your feed a little happier. Those feelings are a part of what we call privilege.
“Privilege” doesn’t mean you’re racist. It just means you live in a world where you can ignore what is happening. It means that you can live your life without fear of being shot because of the color of your skin, without having to worry about “complying” (even when you didn’t commit a crime,) you don’t have to worry about being labeled as “bad,” because of your size, you carry on day-to-day with the benefit of the doubt about your actions, rather than with the burden of an assumption that you’re up to “no good.” You’ll never have to second-guess whether to let your child play with a water gun, a bb gun, in neighborhoods where they stand out, or about what will happen when they learn to drive. You live in a world where you can have an opinion on the activism of others, while comfortably sitting behind your computer. You live in a world where you can ignore it all.
We can’t stop and won’t stop posting and making moves to make a difference because our community is literally under attack. We are being killed. Black men. Black women. BLACK CHILDREN. Our lives matter. Our lives matter. Our lives matter. Our lives matter just as much as your lives. But ours are the only ones being taken so recklessly.
All police officers aren’t bad. Most police officers, like soldiers, are incredibly brave to risk their lives for the safety of their community. So, stop taking our posts about the police so personally, especially if you are married to or have a law enforcement officer in your family. And for heaven’s sake ― acknowledge that THERE ARE bad police officers out there and our legal system is set up to work in their favor. Call out the bad ones and DEMAND better, otherwise, the actions of the bad ones will tarnish the reputation of the good ones.
Some of you get it, you see what is happening, and you’re posting just as passionately about this topic as we are and we love you for it. Love!! Some of you get it but aren’t posting because you “don’t know what to say,” or are “afraid of saying the wrong thing.” We don’t expect you to have the perfect words, but even your imperfect words matter. Stand in solidarity with us and acknowledge what is happening.
These days are the most important days of our lives. Our actions now will impact future generations, much in the same way the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s-60s, affect us today.
Be on the right side of history.