I had a completely different post scheduled for today. But I just watched a man die in cold-blood and my opinion on the book Eight Hundred Grapes (though good), just seems less relevant right now.
I'm not an emotional person. Some would even categorize me as cold, but to watch a man that looks like he could very well be my cousin, uncle, church member, my fiance... my Dad, even the coldest couldn't help to be emotion. My friend Tashi summarized it perfectly: "If you have ever loved a Black man, then you understand the panic, the dread, the hopelessness we are feeling."
If you're like me and your skin is even a slight shade darker than a white piece of paper, this is our reality.
If your skin color is not categorized as "Nude" by the beauty industry, this is our reality.
If you're not quite sure where your ancestors came from, but you're 87% sure that they were property of people lighter than a piece of paper. Sweetie. THIS is our reality.
At any given time, our family members could be murdered at point blank range by the people paid to protect and serve.
And the worst part of it all?
Even with eye witnesses, video camera proof, substantial evidence and probable cause, the people paid to protect and serve (who kill black men senselessly) will receive:
- Administrative leave (paid vacation)
- Plenty of time to connect their stories without questioning (up to 30 days according to the Louisiana Police Officer Bill of Rights)
- More than likely no trial in regards to this murder
- Oh... and a slight slap on the wrist.
Now sure, is there the argument that if they (Black men killed senselessly) were not in the wrong, their family members wouldn't be planning their funeral? Sure, and yes it's a legitimate argument, one that I could see the understanding behind. But, shouldn't there be a bigger argument of other tactics that cops could use? Like my God, they shot that man from POINT BLANK range.
Were. There. No. Other. Options?
I obviously wasn't there, don't know what happened, and honestly I don't care. There was no need for that man to die in that way.
I'm not here to argue the importance of police and the way they put their lives on the line everyday. Look, I get it. Every encounter for a cop may not be as pretty as the movies show it. Every encounter for a cop has the possibility of ending deadly, especially in the roughest neighborhoods. I am a child of a military Veteran so if no one else understands the price of service to our country, trust me, I do. I stand here as a Black woman saying that I have never encountered a rude cop, white or black. I stand here as a Black woman stating that I've had white cops let me go with a warning when I've clearly should have gotten a ticket. Even in some tense situations where everyone is on guard (think: large events), I've encountered cops who have been friendly, helpful, even funny in situations where they are watching the crowd. But God forbid, I or my loved ones, encounter the ONE cop having a bad day with a chip on his shoulder against Black people and decides to take it out on me, them... us.
So what's next? What do we do in the meantime? Who can we talk to get this changed? Because we've tried a lot of things, and not much is changing in the interim.
Is it more awareness?
More support in our communities?
Because we're trying that too, yet here we are.
I want to evoke change. REAL change. The kind of change that told people it's not right to own another human being (also known as slaves). The kind of change that allowed me and all my blackness to sit in the front of the bus. The kind of change where my kids look at me crazy when I tell them of the days where Daddy couldn't wear a hoodie for being Black and Mommy couldn't question an officer on why she was being pulled over.
Because the fact of the matter is that, without change, THIS (the senseless killing of unarmed Black men and women) is becoming, your, mine... OUR reality, as I know it.