Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tonight I am an angry black woman

I am so sick and so tired of seeing black men gunned down in the streets of our nation.
I am so sick and tired of seeing men who look like my brothers, my nephews, my son,
and the sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers of people I know and love
shot and killed by people who have sworn to protect them, to protect all of us.

I am so sick and tired of all the killing.
The excuses.
The explanations.
The rationalizing.
"If only he had/hadn't ________________, he wouldn't have been shot."
Haven't we seen every permutation?
Armed. Unarmed. Compliant. Non-compliant. Standing. Laying on the ground.
In their cars. Outside of their cars. Walking. Running. Silent. Belligerent.
Reaching for their license. Reaching for registration.
Asking for help. Pleading for breath.
Selling CDs. Selling cigarettes. Teenagers. Pre-teens. Adults.
Dead. Dead. Dead.
With the notable exception of the teacher who was intervening for a student with autism.

Just stop shooting black people.
Stop killing black people.

Cuz even if he does have a gun, a real gun and not a toy gun,
even if there are weapons or drugs in the car,
even if he doesn't comply with the command to prostrate himself on the street,
even if he is drunk or high,
even if he is a thief,
even if all those things are true,
(by the way, in most of these public cases, none of those things turn out to be true)
no one deserves to be shot and killed the way these men are being shot and killed.
Left to bleed out on the street or in their vehicles.
Without medical aid or CPR or assistance of any kind.
Why not start with the taser?
Why not shoot in the legs?

Oh wait, they did shoot the teacher in the leg. The teacher who was on the ground with his hands up in the air, pleading for his life and the life of his student. That guy still got shot.

Just stop shooting people.
Stop killing people.

I know I've posted this link before. But the song means more and more as the years pass.

We who believe in freedom cannot rest. 
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes -
until the killing of black men, black mothers' sons, 
is as important as the killing of white men, white mothers' sons.

People, go stand in front of a mirror or pull out a journal and talk to yourself about how you feel about black people and black men in particular. What comes to mind when you think about your personal interactions with black people? If you don't have any interactions with black people or anyone who doesn't look like you on a daily basis, then that's part of the problem - ignorance.
Not knowing. Not being exposed to people who aren't like you.
That needs to change. Period.

Then talk to your neighbors about your fear and their fear and your racism and their racism.
Talk to your families. Talk to your spouses and your children.
Be honest about your prejudices, your privileges, and your pride.
Tell the truth about the ways in which you have diminished the value of the lives of other people.
People who don't look like you. People who don't live the way you live.
People whose sexuality, country of origin, first language, manner of dress, or religion don't match yours.
People you dismiss, disregard, disdain.
People whose public executions no longer move you or make you angry.

Think about it. Talk about it. Journal about it.
And then do something.
Stand up. Speak up. Stand out. Speak out.
Let your voice be heard - this shit is just not right. Not right.
Enough is enough.
If any of this is going to change, it has to start with me. It has to start with you.
Right now. Tonight. Think. Ask yourself hard questions. Seek difficult answers.
Make a plan. No excuses.
Enough is enough.

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