"You're blowing things out of proportion!" "Things are so much better than the 20's, 40's, 60's." "Why should I be held responsible for what my ancestors did?" "You don't know the whole story!" "What about black on black crime?" "They should have just complied!" "Ok, so they complied but we don't know what happened before the recording started." "Not standing for the anthem is so disrespectful." "#Bluelivesmatter respect our police no matter what." "It shouldn't be #blacklivesmatter it should only be #alllivesmatter." "I'm tired of black people claiming they have it so bad it's 2016." "Racism doesn't exist anymore why do ya'll always pull the race card." "-------------silence, nothing said at all-----------"
So as a result....
We Riot - And you say we're animals
We March - And you say we're causing problems in the streets
We Sit - And you say we're attention seekers
We Kneel - And you say we're disrespectful
We Talk - And you say we're making something out of nothing
We Cry - And you say we're overreacting; things aren't that bad
We Stay Silent - And you ask why haven't we said something before now
WE DIE - And you say it's our own fault
Tuesday and I was driving my car, I looked up and saw police lights in my rear view mirror, I am immediately overwhelmed with fear. My hearts begins to beat fast and I find it hard to catch my breathe. Continuously, check my rear view as he approaches closer. I start playing in my head what did I do? Was I speeding? The light was yellow right? Then I begin to see all the hashtags flooding my social media timelines....
annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd now #TerenceCrutcher and #KeithLamontScott (who had not yet loss their lives when I was having my experience)
Now with the REALITY of the fact that Black Men and Women are being gunned down in the street by police. I begin planning my next steps of what I will do as I begin to slow down and move over to the right....
- Get your ID and car insurance out now before you even stop
- Put both hands outside of the windows clearly holding your documents
- Don't talk too loud so they don't think you're an anger black woman
- Don't talk too soft so that they don't have to ask you to repeat yourself and think you're being non-compliant.
Just as I am satisfied that I have my plan of action in place to handle this encounter with the police and prayerfully make it home alive and without injury, to my family...........then in that very moment the police car drives past me. As I let out a huge gasp of relief and begin to calm myself down and continue driving. What in my mind has lasted for an eternity has only actually been 2 minutes of my life. Then I find myself whispering a prayer of protection over the Officer that drove past me as well as for whoever he/she may encounter when reaching their finally destination.
And no I didn't have a "reason" for being nervous that White America will understand. I wasn't carrying a weapon, I didn't have drugs in my car. I don't have any warrants out for my arrest. I'm just a Black Woman living in America in 2016. And that unfortunately is "reason" enough!!
And what's so sad about this is that this is something that 95% of people of color can either directly relate to or know someone in their family/community that has experienced what I've described here. Being afraid every time your loved ones leave the house, not to go to Afghanistan for war, but just to go to the corner store. This is the reality that I LIVE everyday of my life! When we're told by White America to simply grin and bare it. To not make such a big deal of everything. When in the media you see how a man can go into a church and murder 9 African Americans and be apprehended by the police and taken ALIVE and fed at the local Burger King on his way to lock up. Or how a white man can outright attack police officers with a machete and be taken ALIVE. Or shoot up a Movie Theater and still be stopped and make it to jail ALIVE. But WE, African Americans should just be good American citizens or leave the country, right? Despite the fact that we're being killed by police daily with no convictions and/or fallout for the police involved.
Just behave and suffer in silence or leave.....That's what most would like to see as I read the posts on social media and overhear conversations in the local cafe. Go to another country and you'll see how good you have it. You'll see that...
Being judged by the color of your skin,
Being seen as dangerous just because you're a black man,
Being considered angry because you're a black woman,
Being murdered in the streets by those paid by your tax dollars to protect you,
Being worried your children won't make it to their next birthday (no matter how young they are),
Being discriminated against for housing,
Being ridiculed in the media,
Being seen as less than human,
....................................AIN'T REALLY THAT BAD! And you'll come running back to the America that was built on the backs of your ancestors who where never meant to be a part of it anyway. Now keep contributing to make this country GREAT and Shut up about how we treat you!
Now if you're reading any parts of this and not seeing anything WRONG with what I've just described here than you're the problem and this article isn't for you! But if you read this and are OUTRAGED and now seeing things in a new way then it is for YOU! It is not until we can begin to see things from the prospective of others that true change can take place. Healing doesn't happen without the pain being acknowledged. Diseases aren't cured if you don't admit that you're sick. The same is true now, nothing will change with race relations if you don't say YES THERE IS A PROBLEM!
And then once you recognized there's a problem you can begin to have healthy dialogue that will allow for the light and love to shine through. There is no change unless the light is shined in the darkness. So no matter your skin color, your ethnicity, your religious convictions you can still recognize injustice, even when it isn't happening to you....IF YOU CHOOSE TO! I can understand the horror of the Holocaust, but I'm not Jewish, I empathize with the struggles of the LGBT community, but I'm heterosexual. So if you choose to you can stand against the injustice of African Americans even if you aren't one!
Will you make your voice heard and say enough is enough. No more of the senseless killings of unarmed Black men without cause by the police? Or will you remain silent? Or worse will you continue to say....
"You're blowing things out of proportion!" "Things are so much better." "Why should I be held responsible for what my ancestors did?" "You don't know the whole story!" "What about black on black crime?" "They should have just complied!" "Ok, so them complied but we don't know what happened before the recording started." "Not standing for the anthem is so disrespectful." "#Bluelivesmatter respect our police no matter what." "It shouldn't be #blacklivesmatter it should only be #alllivesmatter." "I'm tired of black people claiming they have it so bad it's 2016." "Racism doesn't exist anymore why do ya'll always pull the race card."
THE CHOICE IS YOURS..............AND YOUR COUNTRY IS DEPENDING ON THE CHOICE YOU MAKE!