I’m a soon to be 26-year-old black female. Although, I am from and currently live in Florida, most of my family was born and still resides in a small town in southern Georgia. That town, in 2016, for the most part is still segregated. Of course, not by law and not illegally, but by choice. Outside of the required spaces, such as schools, businesses, hospitals, etc., rarely do I see other races interacting with one another. As a child partly growing up there I received backlash from my own race/family because I was one who did interact with other races. But, being a military child, I was already exposed to many ethnicities by the time I was eight so I didn’t know of/understand racism at the time. Up until that point, to me, people were just people from different places, who may or may not have similar skin tone or speak the same language as me. What’s also interesting is that my great-grandmother is white and my mom tells of her memories about how she refused to have any relationship with her and her siblings when they were children. So, I’ve pretty experienced and/or have been witness to racism for most of my life; from the very subtle to the blatantly obvious.
As far my thoughts on police conduct go, they are very split, though not straight down the middle. Coming from a military family, I used to think of police as just being an extension of them. Until a few years ago, I had always felt protected, safe, and that I could without a doubt or even question could trust the police. With my life.
I’m not truly sure how much of those beliefs still hold true.
Aside from the current events we are living at this particular moment in time and the previous headline making ones within these past few years, my personal experiences with the police also are what have me questioning my stance and being unsure of how, when, who to trust in law enforcement.
In 2014, my family experienced a murder, though NOT through the hands of the police. But, from the moment the body was discovered, we had to decide to put out faith and trust in police and other law enforcement officials. From the collecting of the evidence, to the arrests, to the trials, to the convictions. And it was difficult because the black lives that were taken by police in the years before, that current year, or even during or shortly after the trials’ conclusions. Its such an internal conflict. You’re thinking, “Thank God for them” while also thinking, “Still can’t completely let my guard down when I leave here.”
I’ve also experienced fear while witnessing and recording two officers beat and throw around another relative of mine (male) while they were already in handcuffs.
I’ve experienced having to remind myself to keep my hands visible and free while being a passenger in a car that was stopped because I naturally keep my arms folded or close to my chest. Yet, I’ve also experienced an officer giving my friend and I a ride home because we were stranded in the middle of the night. I can’t recall personally experiencing hostility from an officer, but I’ve definitely been witness to others experiencing it and still feeling fearful in the moment and after the fact.
It’s personally disturbing for me that I sometimes think, “Thank God I’m a black FEMALE.” Or that I can’t definitively decide whether I want children in the future because of the possibility of having a black son. Or how I instantly think that could’ve been a family member or friend or even me when I see another report. Or how I literally can’t remember all their names and the guilt that comes with that. But, the worst of all is experiencing that momentary happiness upon hearing of the deaths of police officers murdered in retaliation to the police killing unarmed people. I have to remind myself it’s nothing to celebrate because just like everyone else, they only have ONE life. When it’s gone it’s gone. They aren’t going to all of sudden get back up enlightened and with a better understanding of what black people are experiencing. They’re dead and they’re going to remain that way.
Overall, what I mostly feel in the situations is sadness. Sadness and disappointment.
Sadness over having to hear about ANOTHER life lost through the same circumstances of being alive while black. Disappointment because I realize little to nothing is going to change. I’m actually not even angry at the police or even blame them as a whole when these killings occur. Its clearly above them that’s the real problem, they’re just the organization that gets the most in the moment attention.
Maybe there’s a better chance now because this time policemen were targeted, but definitely not because of all the black lives that have been previously taken. Not because of the BLM MOVEMENT. Not because of all the non-black, but still non-white lives that have been taken. Not because of the Orlando massacre. Not because of Newtown. Not because of [insert hashtag or name of persons or event(s) before social media and beginning of internet]. Apparently none of those lives were valuable enough to initiate or cement a change.
I support BLACK LIVES MATTER. Not only because I am black, but because I clearly see process of what’s really going happening.
Basically a very slow, prolonged, and extremely well hidden genocide of black people. I can only imagine how it would be or would’ve been if Hitler was not only 100% successful in wiping out Jews during the Holocaust, but was also able to get away with it. (I am not in any way comparing blacks or what’s happening now to what happened to Jews or anything those victims and survivors went through) We probably would’ve been long gone by now.
I also support All Lives Matter, but not in the way it was created to diminish, trivialize, or to honestly wipe out the BLM MOVEMENT and silence our voices once again.
I support it in the aspect that all lives really do matter. This isn’t a video game where we all have spare lives in our back pockets or can send a request to to get an extra life. This is real life. We only have one. I don’t mean it in a way that excludes or discredits people’s personal beliefs or religions. We only find out about death AFTER it happens to us. I’m a Christian and I absolutely believe in Jesus and the bible, but I won’t experience heaven until after death. And although I don’t believe it, let’s just pretend Christians are wrong and something else happens after death. We still won’t know until after death.
So, yes, we only have one life, but we all these people around the world taking life like it’s replaceable or renewable. Like, human life is worth less than the least valuable coin or an abused animal or endangered species. I also support it in the “After black people, what race or even gender is next?” Considering we have a presidential nominee who is talking about building walls and banning certain ethnicities/religions and just spewing hate like it’s breathable air I definitely don’t see an end coming anytime soon. Pretty soon we’re all going to be poisoned to death by this carbon monoxide we keep inhaling.
As far as the NRA goes, I think they’re “if victims were armed they could take the shooter down” (those are air quotes not statement quotes) excuse just went out the window since there were dozens of armed police against one shooter.
Some still died and they still had to send in an armed robot to disarm him.
We really need better, equal laws. Not just for gun control and not just for black lives either.
We need more accountability for those officers who take lives, on purpose or accident. Training to shoot NOT to kill or seriously injure.
We need to start valuing human life for the most basic level of only having one.
We need more than those few things I’ve listed above, but couldn’t put words to them all not would I know where to begin.
We need God.