I discussed the term emotional trigger with my students today before having a discussion on police brutality. I shared with them that every autumn, especially when leaves are falling it triggers the day that my wife and I found out that we lost what would’ve been our second child.
I told them how every time I hear of someone getting killed by violence it makes me think of Trevell and Lawrence, two former students I taught, both lives cut short by violence.
I chose to discuss these very personal things with my students because news of, or actual experiences with police brutality combined with all the violence in our society is triggering emotions in my students that they might not even be aware of.
How can you feel safe in a society when you are afraid of the police?
How can you feel safe when white people criticize you for speaking up, protesting peacefully, and/or becoming upset?
It seems as if many white people only care when property is damaged, a knee is taken, a fist is raised or if someone happens to mention white privilege, but don’t give a damn if a Black person is killed.
We white people deflect accusations of police brutality with, “what about ‘black on black’ crime?”
We actually don’t care about “black on black crime,” it just sounds scary to us. No matter that white on white crime is a thing. No matter that every race due to governmental segregation policies lives primarily by people who look like them, so violence is almost always against people who like them.
We deflect accusations of police brutality with, “Colin Kaepernick’s actions are unAmerican and offensive.”
Even though protests are part of Democracy, we don’t care. Women vote because of protests, many people have a 40 hour work week because of protests, that doesn’t matter. Just don’t protest while Black.
We deflect anything having to do with race with, “Martin Luther King wouldn’t support the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Our history classes sucked in high school in terms of teaching about Black and Brown people. We spent some time in February learning the mess out of the white washed de-radicalized version of King and we can quote “I Have a Dream” all day.
As a white person who is trying to be anti-racist I have a responsibility to speak up. I promised myself if someone responds to me on Facebook or Twitter I will respond to them no matter what.
I don’t know if it’s worth it.
Racism exists because me and every other white person allows it to.
And that pisses me off.
I refuse to raise my sons to be racist.
But it’s hard.
Racist ideology envelopes us.
This country was founded on racist ideology. It has passed from generation to generation because white people are so fragile we can’t handle mentioning racism. When racism is mentioned, we immediately get so uncomfortable that we get tired of hearing about it and then try to silence the people talking about it because speaking about racism seems so divisive to us: just let things be, everything is good, we are white.
We don’t worry about the police, they won’t kill our children, friends, relatives, neighbors or people who look like us out of fear. So why should we believe that they would do that to another race.
Don’t talk about whiteness.
Don’t talk about privilege.
Don’t talk about race.
Just be white.
Err, just be Italian (insert other European ancestry) American.
Even better, just be American.
Just be white but don’t refer to ourselves as white.
Just wave the flag, don’t question, be proud, be American.