I have started and deleted this post four times. I know there will be fallout. I know people I love and respect will disagree with me. I don’t really have a problem with that, exactly. I have very strong feelings about a ton of things, and a big mouth to voice those feelings with, so I am pretty used to people disagreeing with me. The thing is, this time, it’s too important. It’s important because people are dying, and it just has to stop.
On Monday, I watched a video of yet another innocent man die in the middle of a street at the hands of people sworn to protect him. He was unarmed, he had his hands in the air, and he was shot and killed. Hands in the air mean surrender. Hands in the air mean I have nothing to hide. Hands in the air mean peace. Terrence Crutcher died because his car broke down. I don’t care about past arrests, I don’t give a shit about prior convictions. An unarmed man had car problems and because of that his children will never see him again and that is horrifying.
I am a pretty blessed woman. I don’t have a lot financially or materially, but I am a white woman, I live in a “desirable zip code”, I have food to eat and clothes to wear. I also have a family. My daughter recently married a black man. They have two children, my grandchildren. I worry about them every day because being a black man in America is apparently punishable by death and I can not see another one of my family members die for no reason. My beautiful grandson Jayden is seven years old now, but one day he will be seventeen, and I don’t want to have to tell him that because of his color, he can’t go to the store dressed in a hoodie and buy a bag of Skittles.
This country collectively lost our shit because of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during our anthem. The thing is, haven’t we always promoted peaceful protest? Isn’t that our right as Americans? Maybe we should stop screaming in outrage and listen to why he is protesting. Maybe we can understand. Maybe we can bring change.
There is an attack on a gay bar, and you feel badly, but you don’t take a stand and fight because you aren’t gay and it doesn’t affect you. Undocumented citizens are sent away to face unspeakable atrocities, and you feel badly, but you don’t take a stand and fight because you aren’t undocumented and it doesn’t affect you. A black man dies at the hands of the police, and you feel badly, but you don’t take a stand and fight, because you aren’t black and it doesn’t affect you. The problem is, one day, the vitriol and violence will be turned on you, aren’t you going to need someone to stand up and fight for you?