Saturday, December 6, 2014

Regarding recent events.

This post was originally on FB, but I felt it needed a better venue.

(picture from )

I have mostly stayed quiet about the events of these last couple weeks for a number of reasons: I'm generally a quiet person; I feel as though so many others have said things so much better than I can; I feel like there's a lot of negativity in the world and I prefer to post things that make people smile; I'm white and no matter how hard I try to understand I know I will never really "get" what it's like to be black and I don't want to come off as condescending or misunderstanding or clueless. But this article, this pisses me off.

Police: Chokehold victim complicit in own death

It's bad enough that there has been this huge miscarriage of justice. It's bad enough that shining stars of our youth are harassed and threatened and killed by the people who are supposed to be protecting us. It's bad enough that there is a huge imbalance in the number of arrests made, the number of trials, and the severity of punishment. All of that desperately deserves our anger and frustration and call to action.

But this? Oh, this is wrong. Let's minimize whar happened by focusing on the fact this man was overweight and in poor health. Let's minimize the fact that someone died by trying to take it out of the racial realm and trying to make it about something else.

And then, let's compound that by saying that police all over have hurt feelings and feel misunderstood and are crying to each other on internet chat rooms, because "not every police officer is bad." By all means, let's pity the cops.

I might not be black, but I am a woman. And this sounds awful damn familiar to me. How many times have women heard "if you dress that way you're asking for it?" How many times have we heard not to walk alone at night and not to drink at parties and all of that shit. And when we are assaulted or harassed or raped, it's because *we* didn't take precautions or *we* "asked for it" or "invited it" because apparently men can't control themselves and it's our responsibility to make sure they don't turn into raging monsters.

Yeah. Bullshit.

And then we say ‪#‎yeseverywoman‬ and suddenly all these men are all up in arms because "not every man is a sexual predator." You're missing the point, bro. Yes. Every. Woman. All of us. Every single last one of us. We all face this every single day. We're not saying every man is a schmuck. We're saying every woman feels this fear and hears these rules and we want to be heard. And we need the men in this world to stand by us and fight for us so that maybe some day we won't live in fear.

And I look at what's going on now and hearing how this man was overweight and this man was in poor health and this man had been in trouble before and I'm angry. Because this isn't about health or weight or the past. This is about a man who died. And I look at other similar cases, and I read all these stories about blacks who have been taught "be polite, don't make waves, don't do anything they might misinterpret" and this sounds to me like ‪#‎yeseveryblackperson‬. And it makes me angry.

And I'm totally cool with the thought that not every police officer is out there killing blacks. And I'm cool with the thought that most police officers truly want to make the world a safer place for us.

But it's needs to start with a recognition that we need to change. Really, really change. We need to take the blinders off our eyes and see this shit is happening every day in a hundred little ways. And we need to look at ourselves and say "What can I do to make this better?" And we need to really look into our hearts and see when we might be perpetuating these attitudes and behaviors in others.

And I'm sorry there are some police officers out there feeling depressed and victimized, but seriously, put on your big girl panties and do something about it. Get out there and be the face of justice this world needs. If there's some hurt feelings along the way, well life ain't all fun and games. Deal with it and move on. Because this is everyone's fight here.