There are many subjects where I, admittedly, don’t know shit. Often times, my ignorance of these topics is rather benign, and I happily go on about my day – ignorance is bliss, as the saying goes. There are some topics where I, nor any one else, can afford that luxury of ignorance any longer.
Much like the almost never ending string of mass shootings that occurs in this country, there is another inexplicable cycle of death that our country does nothing about: the killing of black Americans in very questionable circumstances by law enforcement.
We have all been taught since childhood that the police are the ones that we can count on to keep us and our communities safe. We’re also taught that, if you are respectful and follow an officer’s instructions, everything will be just fine. Both of these are, for the most part, true – especially if you’re white. Black Americans have a different experience, and it’s way past time that the rest of us listen and learn from the black community.
I’ve never given a second thought to whether or not my stepdaughters would survive a simple traffic stop, or a trip to the park; however, we’ve all seen that these are legitimate fears for a mother of a black child. I can’t begin to imagine how that feels, so I listen. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a black friend talk about how either they or one of their kids were pulled over for seemingly no reason other than they looked “out of place”. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a similar story from a white friend.
Each time another name becomes a #hashtag, I hear the same voices in a chorus singing the same songs:
- “If he hadn’t been…”
- “He should have…”
- “Well, maybe if she didn’t …”
Then, once the outrage begins to grow, the verse changes:
- “What about black-on-black crime?”
- “ALL LIVES MATTER!”
- “#LatestVictim had a criminal record, so…”
- “Why do ‘they’ always play the race card?”
Just…no. When an entire community is reeling from yet another senseless death, humanity would be better served if you could keep your mouth shut, and your heart open. Being dismissive to the obvious pain and grief being expressed by so many is, for lack of a better phrase, a dick move.
There are a shit ton of things that I will neither experience nor fear, purely because I’m a pasty white woman. That’s privilege. It’s infuriating that so many similarly privileged people remain silent and ignorant, and, all too often, by choice.
Another day, another #hashtag.
Too many days, too many #hashtags.
Listen more – learn more – love more.