Let me preface my blog post by saying that I am pro-cop and pro-black. I do not condone deaths of either side. However, this post is specifically about one side. I will follow with another for the other side.
I’ve been thinking of my American History class recently, specifically the racial clashes from the early-to-mid 1900s. When we would look at the pictures of African American men hanging from trees and being beaten by bystanders while others looked on cheering. We always shook our heads at this horror–shocked by how awful these people were and confused why they thought that this was acceptable.
I remember thinking then about how far we’ve come since then. Don’t get me wrong; I knew there was still racism. I knew that we still had bounds to go, but at least we weren’t brutally murdering people for the color of their skin for the public’s entertainment anymore. I felt ashamed of our past but hopeful for the future.
Now, I wonder what I would have felt if I had been African American. I’m a white female. There’s nothing that I can do to change that. All of my experiences are wrapped around that point, and that’s what, as white people, we need to realize.
We cannot actually put ourselves in the shoes of any other race; we can pretend to understand and voice our opinions about it. However, we cannot understand the fear that they must go through on a daily basis. They know that people hate them simply for the color of their skin, that they instill fear simply because of the color of their skin.
White people will shout out that they too are hated for these reasons. No. We, as a race, have never been treated as second-class citizens. When we get pulled over by the police, there is a sense of aggravation and nervousness in the air… not fear (well unless you actually are doing illegal activities in said vehicle, but then it’s only fear of consequences). We wear hoodies, and people laugh at us for looking disheveled, not menacing.
The point is, we cannot tell African Americans how they should feel because we cannot pretend to know what they go through.As a female, I feel scared when I’m walking alone at night, and I see a man approaching. I don’t like to ever be home alone at night because what if that’s the night someone breaks in? I get propositioned by men, and then death threats following shortly thereafter because I didn’t respond the way they hoped. Those are experiences of a woman. No person, no man, can ever tell me that my fears are not real. They can’t tell me that my experiences mean nothing. Well, they can, but they’d be wrong.
What we can do is stop blaming the victims.
You cannot blame a victim. I don’t care what transpired before. I don’t care if 10 years ago they committed a felony. A victim is still a victim. Why is shooting someone point blank an acceptable practice. Telling the public that an African American man shouldn’t have shifted after the police officer told him not to move or that he shouldn’t have been reaching for his wallet before they had taken the gun away , is the equivalent of telling a girl that she was asking for rape by wearing revealing clothing or enjoying a night of drinking. A VICTIM IS STILL A VICTIM.
Stop posting “this is not about race.” It is about race. I don’t care if you don’t believe in it, but there is a race problem in this country. Right now, that problem is boiling over. Instead of fighting against, why don’t we work together to fix it. Stop blaming the victim. Stop only supporting one side of the argument. I know plenty of police that are great men, but there are extreme examples of some that are not. Just as there are extreme examples of African Americas that are not. We cannot judge any movement by the extremists.
Reach out to your congressmen/women. Tell them you want them to figure out a solution. As Trevor Noah said, “This is an American problem.” It’s time we started acting like it.