We know there is problem. But what do you say about it? What can you say?
What do you say when in the span of 36 hours, in two different cities, there have been two very public killings of African Americans by Police officers. Both caught by phones, both posted to social media, both are being largely ignored by mainstream media.
What you cannot say is that we have a systematic problem
What you cannot say is that there isn’t injustice.
What you cannot say is that Black Lives Matter.
Not when these and so many other African Americans have been publicly butchered before the eyes of a watching world that remains both silent and indifferent.
It crazy to me that when a major terrorist event happens, we are quick to throw up hashtags . #PrayFor(insert the city). But when it comes to the terror of Black lives being stolen daily by overzealous murderers with a God complex, a badge and a gun, the only hashtags we get are the names of the slain followed by #BlackLivesMatter.
As White people looking at all of this, what can you say?
Well, dialogue is very needed.
But what's not needed? Here’s 4 things not to ever do when events like this happen:
Making a Villain of the Victims:
This happens a lot. The pattern goes like this:
A) There is a police brutality incident
B) It makes it to the news, social media, and our conversations
C) If there is an available mugshot of the victim, news networks use that, no matter how old or outdated
D) Past legal issues of the victim are brought up during news casts
E) People feel less empathetic to a former convict
Sounds crazy right. What bearing do past legal issues have on anyone being currently publicly executed? And yet, this cycle happens all the time. We just witnessed it with Alton Sterling, and, if there was any dirt on Phil Castile, we would have witnessed it with him too. Any person who attempts to bring up the past of someone’s past legal troubles as a way of being less empathetic, even condoning the murder of a black person in the street by an officer is a racist and needs to deal with that. Nothing justifies murder.
Saying #AllLivesMatter as a follow up to #BlackLivesMatter:
Probably one of the worst things you could tell a grieving people who have experienced this type of violence. Heres what saying All Lives Matter is like:
There’s a neighborhood with 1 house that is on fire. The fire department rushes out to the fire, but instead of dousing the house that is on fire, they spray the entire neighborhood with water, because all the houses matter.
Does that make sense? No?
Then stop saying “all lives matter” when “all lives” aren’t being butchered in the street like dogs, the Black ones are.
Avoid the Conversation all together:
It's really uncomfortable to bring up or even take part in a conversation that deals with oppression, especially if you are in the lineage of the traditional oppressor. But this country has too long avoided the conversation with its forcibly adopted children that it must reckon with. Facts are that there is systematic oppression and imbedded hate are woven into this country, and the benefits enjoyed by many in the land of the free were built upon the backs of the enslaved.
Talking won’t bring Alton Sterling, Phil Castile, or any one of the hundreds of named and nameless slain by systematic oppression. But it will create some understanding. It will help in some healing. It will show that you care.
Being Silent or Indifferent:
Silence and indifference are luxuries that we as a country can no longer afford at the cost of black lives lost. Something needs to be done. We (as a people and as a nation) need to mobilize. More needs to be done other than hollering in the streets and forget in a week. We need to vote, we need to see who is selecting and training these officers, we need mandatory psych evals. Most importantly, we need to stop giving murderers badges and guns.
Complacency is the sin of the masses, the sin that watches people get murdered by those who were sworn to protect and to serve. Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.“ Albert Einstein said “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything. Families, communities, and cities are being destroyed, not just by the systematic oppression and imbedded racism, but by those who stand aside and pretend as if nothing is actually going on.
There is something powerful that happens when those who aren't affected by things like this stand beside the oppressed in the fight for equality. The same way straight can people stand beside the LGBTQIA community, the same way men can stand beside women in the fight for gender equality, is the same way White people can lend their support of Black people.
We know there is a problem. As Jane Elliott says in the above clip, you know something is wrong, you do not want it for yourself, why would you allow it for anyone else?
No more murders. No more police brutality. No more hashtags.
I downloaded this song a month ago and never played it. However, during a random shuffle as I was working, it came on. With all of the events happening, it's timing was everything. Warning: there is some graphic language, but don't let a few curse words take away from the message.