To those of you who noticed that last week`s blog post was noticeably absent from my website, I apologize. This is because last week, I was stricken with a cold and then subsequently hit with the devastating news about the most recent cop killings. Sadly, cop killings seems like the most simplistic and appropriate term to describe last week`s events, as civilians died at the hands of cops and cops died at the hands of a civilian. Needless to say, between battling my cold and and being subjected to the ultimate brutalization of black bodies, I simply could not begin to get my thoughts in order.
And even still today, a week after this devastating news cycle began, I am somewhat at a loss for words. What`s been transpiring in the underbelly of our society is sickening, heart-breaking, infuriating, and telling of just how NOT far we have come over the past few centuries. I watched every video that came across my news feed; watched as the lives of innocent black men were taken away without a second thought. I watched the horrific slaughter of black people take place in the land of the free and the home of the brave... by uniformed men, employed primarily to protect and serve. I watched. I watched. And I watched. Over and over again. Different angles, different accounts, different victim circumstances. Same result. Slaughter. At this time, I don`t feel like the terms murder or killing quite capture the essence of what is happening here. We, as people of colour are being saught out, hunted down and SLAUGHTERED as though we are something less than human and it has shaken me to my core to witness these back to back atrocities. There`s no manual for how to deal with this sort of devastation, and not to make light of the seriousness of the situation, but this YouTube video summed up just one of my many thoughts as the madness was unfolding:
Honestly. Had I not already gone home ill from work, I truly believe I might have had to call in Black (perhaps rephrased in some way). If you are not a person of colour, you simply cannot begin to understand the depth of brokeness that we feel as people of colour whenever blatant injustices like these happen. Empathize and sympathize as you might, there is no way for you as an outsider to feel the internal mix of disappointment, rage, fear and dehumanization that a person of colour might feel anytime these realities come to light. This is not to say that some of you don`t understand what`s going on, because it`s clear to me that some of you do. And to those of my white readers and friends who DO get it and have voiced your concerns over these injustices, I salute you. But it is abundantly clear that there is a huge, gaping and flawed sinkhole in our justice system and that many white people are in denial about it or refuse to see it as something that relates to them. They would much prefer to support an All Lives Matter movement, than acknowledge that Black Lives Matter.
The evasiveness and the passive aggressiveness of the All Lives Matter campaign at a time like this is bullshit to me. Of course we know that all lives matter; but ALL lives are not the ones who have been historically and consistently threatened, abused and lossed. THE BLACK ONES ARE. ALL lives are not the ones, without fail, being unjustly scrutinized and punished, exploited and made examples of. BLACK LIVES ARE. I get the sense that there is such a deep-rooted fear in the hearts of a lot of white people about acknowledging the dark underbelly of the society in which they live. For many non-people of colour, the truth about systemic racism is a threat to their everyday privilege. Perhaps they fear that once all the traumatic experiences on which their quaint little society was built are brought to light, not only will they be forced to share some of their privilege with others, but they`ll be forced to understand the true concept of equality. I think in the minds of a lot of people who aren`t people of colour, equal rights is a nice idea, until it is directly perceived to threaten their privilege.`
The reality is that while many non-people of colour enjoy Black culture and the wealth that exploitation of said culture may bring to them, under no circumstances would they not want to walk in the hoodie of an actual black man or don the nappy hair of a black woman. Not unless they have a strong internal desire to be treated like strange subhuman creatures. Most white people would not wish to shed their white skin and be given black skin and be told to go out and succeed in the world... They would find the process degrading, dehumanizing and at times, utterly depressing. As in love as I am with my own black skin, I know that having it means that I will always have to guard myself in a way that some others will never have to. I know that due to my skin colour, something which I cannot change (nor would I ever want to), I will always have to deal with microaggressions and cultural misunderstandings. Due to my skin colour, I know that in certain situations that would otherwise warrant my goin off on a bitch, I will have to code-switch, and defuse the bomb within me to placate those around me and put them at ease because `no one likes an angry black woman`. I know that my `beautiful skin comes with a built-in price of prejudice, and no bullet-proof armour to protect it. It`s sad that I know this and that generations of black kids after me will have to know this and mentally prepare for the worst.
With all of these horrific incidents now being brought to light via cell phone camera footage, it`s becoming far harder for non-people of colour to deny that there is a deep problem in this world. And for that, I am thankful. But still, it is hard. It is soooo painfully hard to watch these videos surface on a daily basis, because it`s a triggering visual representation of the unprovoked prejudice we face as people of colour. Whether we choose to peacefully mind our own business or exercise and protect our human rights to not be treated like savages, we still end up slain. And I think, now more than ever... it has finally shaken us into an active state of wokeness. To the point where silence and inaction are no longer an options.
We are tired. We are tense. We are trapped. And now that we have our eyes wide open to what`s going on, a major shift is inevitable.
While my natural inclination is to move in love above all, my inclination as a black woman is to speak the truth - no matter how uncomfortable it makes others.
Dear racists, I just want to know: how many black bodies will it take to make your unfounded fear of us go away? Asking for some friends, named Emmett Till, Rodney King, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile... et al.