Please forgive what may be broken English.
No- in fact, sorry. I’m not sorry.
What must happen for “the powers that be” to recognize the utter disgust and contempt black parents feel for you right now? For years, we have been begging for checks and balances in law enforcement. For years, we have proven that the system is HEAVILY skewed against Blacks and other POCs. For years, we have watched our sons and daughters be gunned down, choked, attacked, and harassed. Simply for being.
Simply for being.
Today, stunned, I watched another young black man who had been subdued die at the hands of police. This time it was Minneapolis. Not to be confused with Indianapolis earlier this month. Or Texas a few weeks ago. Or wherever it may happen tomorrow. This one in Minneapolis has left me completely speechless.
In the (now viral) cell phone footage, the world witnessed an officer with his knee on his suspect’s neck as bystanders pleaded with him to just put the guy in the car. The suspect-turned-victim was handcuffed. There were multiple officers present. The man wasn’t a threat. And now he’s dead.
In the meantime, officer so-and-so gets a paid vacation while his peers “investigate” the murder. The media has a field day, digging up details of the victim’s criminal misdeeds. Social media gets another public lynching to pass around like coronavirus- you get a hashtag, and you get a hashtag. And this man’s family gets to plan a funeral.
Somehow, law enforcement is able to apprehend mass shooters, allow admitted murderers walk the streets for MONTHS, and keep serial killers alive for decades. Unfortunately, they haven’t yet mastered the art of NOT executing black men on video. I assume no amount of training will ensure that fear and deeply ingrained prejudices won’t cloud the vision of these officers. At this juncture, it’s impossible for black people to identify the good guys from the bad ones.
Black parents are put in the precarious position of being the only people who care about their children. How do we explain to our young ones that society sees their life as expendable? In the midst of a pandemic, our kids see a white woman threaten a black man with the police FOR NOTHING! Black America sits in shock, knowing she may as well have shot him herself. That’s what we have to teach our children- that a crying white woman is a death sentence for you.
This is no different than my great-grandparents begging to be free from slavery. Or my father begging to be seen as a human being. Now, we have to fight for our children to be seen as anything but a threat. We are watching a generation of men and women whose dreams will never be realized. Who won’t get an opportunity to look back on this era and tell their own children how far America has come. Who won’t get a chance to make better decisions.
At the end of the (very long) day, we hold a lot of power. Yes, white people, you are part of this “we”. Are you really as tired of Black people facing death with every encounter with the police? Are you? Do you agree that even a criminal deserves their day in court? Is that a right that is only reserved for YOUR children?
If you can’t tell- I’m the mother of a Black son. He’s 6’5” and 220 pounds. He is dark as midnight. His life matters to me. I want him to live a long and prosperous life. Mostly, I don’t want him to die.
Simply for being.