Today has been a day full of emotions. On a personal note, I had to terminate with some of my clients because my time at my current placement is coming to an end. On a broader note, last night I saw a news post about video of the murder of Alton Sterling and I scrolled past it. Not because I’m a callous individual who doesn’t care, but because I knew I wasn’t emotionally ready to handle more police brutality against Black people. I knew that my emotional resources were not where they needed to be to watch that. In fact, I don’t know that they will ever be where they need to be for me to watch something like that. I came home today, though, and I felt prepared to watch the video of his wife’s response.
On one level, I feel like I have no words. No words to describe the pain I feel, and only the imagination to fathom what his family is experiencing. It’s too much. I recognize that I don’t know these people, but the hurt, betrayal, and evilness is ever-present, and I feel for these families. This happens way too often. I feel like I’m in a position (or at least on my way there) where I can advocate for change and work to implement cultural sensitivity, but the reality is that we live in a racist society. I am one person. Granted, I’m working alongside an army of others who are devoted to racial equality and justice, but it seems like we take 2 steps forward and 10 steps back.
I’m so tired of Black people being villianized because of people’s racist beliefs and conjectures. I’m tired of people who look like me being gunned down or otherwise murdered by those who are supposed to be protecting us. It’s old, it’s terrifying, it’s infuriating…it’s racism.
We all need to call it what it is. Stop villifying Black VICTIMS to justify racist acts.
This is yet another call for action, for justice. We can’t sit idly by and allow these things to continue. One of my favorite quotes is by Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” I don’t care who you are or what you look like, if you are not speaking out about these injustices against Black people, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.
I watched Awesomely Luvvie’s response to the murder of Alton Sterling. One of the things she offered were suggestions on how to help. What to do when we feel so helpless and defeated…
- Stop sharing the video of his murder, or the murders of anyone else due to police brutality.
- White people: speak up and speak out. Black people cannot fix this problem alone…it was the hands and minds of white folks that created this racist system.
- Donate to organizations doing antiracist work (BYP100, Dream Defenders).
- Donate to the gofundme for Alton Sterling’s children’s college funding.
- Help figure out how to change policies.
- Talk to your racist family members, coworkers, and friends.
- Teach your kids how to be antiracist.
- Vote for local officials who are antiracist and will hold police accountable.
As I reflect on all of the tragedy, all of the hate crimes that affect groups in which I hold membership, I am heartbroken. I am devastated. I am angry. I have maintained that I can’t have friends who are unable to hold substantive conversations about topics that MATTER. This is one of them. I can’t associate with people who turn away from these issues because they don’t know what to say, or because their privilege allows them to carry on with their lives, undeterred.
If you are unbothered by these deaths, you can be unbothered without me in your life. I recognize that that may seem rash or harsh, but I don’t have time for people who live in their privileged circles, caring more about the lives of fictional characters (read: OITNB spoiler) than the lives of actual people.
I am fed up…and I will continue to be fed up. I am an Angry Black Woman with damn good reason, and the only thing that will alter that is lasting antiracist change.