Hopefully you’ve kept up with the news coverage from this past week. Maybe even from the past few years as people began to take a stand against police brutality. As a biracial woman, I am viewed and perceived as a Black woman. My father is black. My aunts and uncles are black and my cousins are black. I am black and proud. But that’s not the only reason why this week’s news stories disturbed me. It was beyond that. I witnessed a man get shot multiple times while he was pinned down. I witnessed another man trying to hold on to his life after being stopped for a traffic violation. What really disturbs me is that these men aren’t going to get justice. None of the victims of police brutality seem to get justice even when it is taped.
If that doesn’t bother you, it should. It should bother you that you just watched another video of a man being murder. You should be disturbed that the media drags these men through the mud every single time and finds some backstory to paint them as a criminal or violent being. You should be disturbed that people want to justify these killings even with video evidence. I’m disturbed and disgusted. I’m disgusted that this consistently happens. I’m disturbed that people want to drag the Black Lives Matter movement into the clause and blame a movement for black people as the cause to why they are murdered. There’s a problem in America with police brutality. There’s a problem in America with trying to sweep racism under the rug. It’s not okay. Racism still exists and you can’t ignore it.
Bare with me here and try to understand through the eyes of a woman of color. Understand a side you aren’t familiar with.
It exists and if you can’t stop to think of your privilege then you’re part of the problem. Have you ever been followed through a store just for walking in and looking a certain way? Have store managers paged security to watch you as you shop? Do you have people tossing your resume to the side because of your name? In the past, I worked in retail and I witnessed my managers racially profile multiple black men as soon as they step into the store. They had one man followed throughout the store and even after he paid for everything, they sat there and stated they would know in two days if his credit card belonged to him or not. I can vouch and say that more than half the people that stole from us were not people of color. Even I have privilege—I’m half white and I’m a light skin woman. I can admit that I am privileged. All we want is for you to see that you’re at an advantage and that you can recognize the disadvantages of black people.
Sorry but it doesn’t exist. You can’t pull that card when the system has never been set against you. You can’t begin to understand what people of color endure. As the minority, we’re immediately distinguished as inferior to white people. Don’t believe it, look back at all the history—slavery, colonization, segregation. Please don’t try to say black people need to get over something that happened to their ancestors. You can’t ignore the fact that the Civil Rights Movement isn’t even 100 years old. There is no reverse racism. We can be prejudice and discriminate against white people but we can’t be racist.
Don’t see color
You don’t see color? Really? You don’t see that the world is full of color. You’re ignoring the point. You’re trying to ignore what is going on in the world by stating you don’t see color. You think that by saying that you won’t appear to be racist. That’s the problem. You don’t want to appear to be racist but you need to acknowledge that we’re all different colors. We’re all different and that’s okay, recognize that. Recognize that your skin tone doesn’t give you a disadvantage. Recognize that you don’t have to be scared to for you life when you get pulled over. Look at what you can get away with and what people of color can’t get away with. Compare headlines from different tragedies and realize how white people are compared to people of color when they make headlines. You need to see color. You need to see what is going on in the world and why it is going on. Accept that your race plays a part in many things.
But you’re white, too.
Yes, my mother is white. Half of my genetics are white. I am white as I am black. This isn’t something to point out about multiracial people. This isn’t going to change anything. That doesn’t change the fact that my mother had to be selective with polling booths that she went to in Georgia because of my skin tone. It also doesn’t change that fact that classmates teased me for my different hair or told me I couldn’t play with them because I didn’t look like them. I am still followed in stores. I am still profiled for being black. I can acknowledge what I am without you pointing out or telling me what I am. That doesn’t change the fact that I have to worry about my dad and siblings on a daily basis. That I constantly think about my family members down south and worry about their safety. At the end of the day, I have family members that are black and that are at a disadvantage due to their skin tone.
Blacks are violent *insert eye roll emoji*
The last thing I want to hear when a black man is taken from his family and friends is that he has a record. I don’t want to hear about black on black crime because I’m going to want you to own up to white on white crime. I’m going to want you to recognize that crime happens in all neighborhoods. Do you still not get it? Do you not recognize that with these crimes that are being committed within communities that you’re going to act out against your neighbor. The media just chooses what they want to show and what they don’t want to show. Next time you decide to try to share that fact, you accept what happens in other communities as well.
But what about #AllLivesMatter?
Your life matters, it really does. No one is saying your life doesn’t matter, we know your life matters and we want our lives to matter too. We want to be able to grow up without fearing the police officers. No one is taking away the value of your life and telling you that your life doesn’t matter with this movement—in fact, if you see it that way maybe you should have a conversation with people in the movement. You could also try to understand the injustices that are happening today. All lives do matter, they truly do. At this moment, we’re focusing on the ones that are being taken for senseless reasons. We’re focusing on the fact that someone is taking it into their hands to take someone else’s life because they feel like they have that authority.
Lose the misplaced fear and insecurities you have about minorities. Pro-black isn’t anti-white; they just want you to understand the hardships they’ve had to deal with. Take the time to understand the culture and understand the people around you. Understand that America is a melting pot of culture and that your culture is not the dominant or standard for this country. If you think All Lives Matter than ultimately you should think that Black Lives Matter, too.