Apologies that this is all over the place. I’m dealing with an allergy migraine and Daniel is having a hard night.
I was all prepared to do some blogging this weekend on an article a friend sent about Betsy DeVos vowing to make sure that public schools shared any funds they go for COVID-19 relief with private schools.
Then, the riots started happening. There was only so much I could read about what was going on before I had to shut down Facebook and Twitter to go watch bullet-journaling videos on YouTube because all of this is making me tired.
Why am I so tired?
[+] Because yet again, police officers violated someone’s civil rights and the person died in the process. Before anyone starts going off on how I should be supporting law enforcement, my family members who have actually WORKED in law enforcement have all condemned what happened to George Floyd as excessive use of force. All the statements I’ve read of those at the scene state that he wasn’t resisting. Off-duty medical professionals tried to get the police officer with his knee on George’s neck to remove it because he was showing all the signs of asphyxiation such as his nose bleeding and him losing control of his bodily functions. I’m sure that the officer’s lawyer is going to say that it was a lapse in judgment, and I’d argue that it was an egregious one, considering that the Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide.
How many times does this have to happen before things DO actually change and law enforcement officers stop this crap?
BECAUSE BLACK LIVES MATTER.
[+] Because there are idiots claiming that “if you can talk, you can breathe.” Apparently, they’ve never had someone sitting on their chest and refusing to get off or crushing their larynx. I have. You can beg them to get off of you for so long. (There was a kid that used to push me down and sit on my chest when I was in preschool. I still remember the feeling more than 35 years later and I’m still pissed that the teacher just told him to get off and made no effort to actually HELP me.) I’m also asthmatic and have spent time in the ER in respiratory distress. You can still talk up to a point.
[+] Because I’m sick of the double standard that exists in our society where white men can walk into state capital buildings armed to the teeth, but African-American protestors are pepper-sprayed, shot with rubber bullets, and tear gassed. I’m a heck of a lot more unnerved by the protestors with automatic weapons walking around a few weeks ago than the peaceful protestors this weekend. The people smashing windows and looting stores were not part of the groups marching and protesting. If you look at close pictures, they’re decked all in black with gas masks, goggles, and their skin is the same color as mine. Were there African-American people who participated in looting? Yes, and the organizers of the protests can be seen pulling them aside and telling them to stop.
The reaction of police in many major cities this weekend shows that not much has changed since the Civil Rights Movement 50 years ago.
BECAUSE BLACK LIVES MATTER.
[+] Because I’m feeling so much pain for friends of mine who legitimately have to worry about their sons encountering police officers. While Daniel’s autism could mean an adverse police experience, it’s unlikely that he’ll encounter a police officer who will assume that he’s a robbery suspect or that he is in a place to cause trouble. Journalist Robin Roberts spoke of her fear about her son being mistaken for a criminal if he wears a black surgical mask in public instead of one with a colorful pattern on it some weeks ago on one of the morning shows, and it was striking to me as it’s not something I even think about. Ahmaud Arbery was murdered for just jogging in a white neighborhood while being black. Breonna Taylor was swatted by police. None of those things are even remotely on my mind as something that could happen to me.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
[+] Because I’m sick of having a president who incites racism. The jerks protesting in Charlottesville and marching with tiki torches to incite fear are not “fine people”. There were not “good people on both sides” of that protest. His tweet about “thugs” in Minneapolis and how “the shooting starts when the looting starts” a few days ago was taken down by Twitter as a violation of their community policies. He hires people with ties to white nationalism as his advisors and his current press secretary. The sad thing is that this is just scratching the surface.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
[+] Because I’m sick of feeling so helpless when this happens. I’m speaking out, signing petitions, calling my legislators, reading news from sources like The Root and The Grio, and calling out racism when I see it. I encourage my students to tell their stories because we need to hear the perspectives of people from different cultures. I read books with diverse characters, and take that into consideration when buying books for the children of my friends and for my nephews. I’m cognizant of what companies I support, and I am aware of my privilege as a white woman. I ask questions, and I listen to my friends when they tell me that what I said innocently actually has other connotations when said about someone who happens to be African-American. (I’m also not saying any of this to trumpet my virtue and prove that I’m not a racist.) I’m really trying to do what I can to understand the world of my friends from different cultures than my own.
Yet, I’m aware that there has to be a cultural change, and that every piece of this change is going to involve people losing their lives. I hate this. I really do. I can scream that BLACK LIVES MATTER until I’m blue in the face, and people are going to keep dying until we start listening to Colin Kaepernick and others who have been taking a knee and protesting the horrible treatment of blacks in this country.
BECAUSE ALL LIFE IS SACRED AND BLACK LIVES MATTER.