This evening, after a great weekend of family camping, I decided to catch up on the news. I watched an innocent, non threatening, black man get executed by police officers. The first video was of his wife filming the encounter. Not only is it disturbing that this black woman felt she needed to film the police encounter as evidence, but that she was genuinely scared that her husband, completely innocent and unarmed would be murdered. He was.
The second video was from the dash-cam, where you clearly see Keith Scott doing exactly as is asked; exiting the car and backing up. (Keep in mind his wife is telling him not to get out of the car- presumably scared he will be murdered by the police). You can see all videos here, for you to make your own assessment of the evidence. But all of the footage points to the execution of an innocent black man.
Now, I am not a court of law, nor an attorney, but I do not see any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the victim. And since this all came out there is also potential evidence of a planted gun. If you watch the video, it seems as though the officer does throw the gun to the ground. We do not know if it was the victim’s gun, but regardless, we know there was unlawful handling of evidence. Here is a screen grab that shows the time stamps. It’s like one of those kid games “find the difference” between the two pictures.
When I watch this, or any of these videos, my heart crumbles. The injustice I feel in my heart today is no different than the sense of injustice I felt when I learned of slavery and the proceeding injustices that the black community has had to fight through for the entirety of American history. But today is not a history lesson, it is real, it is current, and I continue to do what almost all of the white privilege community tend to do- absolutely nothing.
I can’t feel the pain of the HUNDREDS of women out there who have watched their husbands and sons be executed by the forces we fund to protect us, or the fear they feel every time their loved one leaves the house. My privileged life has lead me to fear things like cancer, weird diseases, the super bug- all things that happen as a matter of bad luck. All these things are equally unfair, death sucsk. But the root cause of the threats to the black community aren’t results of nature or natural existence, they are things that can be fixed with smart policies and big hearts.
I live in an America where clean water, access to food and health care are just a given. Me and my friends often joke about our #firstworldproblems, like hating our boss, shitty relationships, annoying coworkers, annoying kids, etc. But the black community doesn’t know this America. They don’t have the privilege of #firstworldproblems like the white communities. Instead their America is much more like Iraq, Syria, or any other third world country plagued with violence, gangs and drugs. They don’t have access to good quality education, food nor health care. And they don’t know who to trust because the government officials sworn to protect them are the ones that take their lives without consequence.
Here is the reality, blacks deserve the America that a majority of whites deserve. They are fucking Americans, and their labor (including slave labor) is responsible for building the infrastructure and history that makes America great. Their lives matter as much as any other life within our bounds, and yes, all lives matter, but black lives need to matter more right now because we have a crisis that is impacting their lives more than others.
America was built on the principle that equality and justice is vital to the Constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If you believe in America, and you believe in the Constitution, you should be fighting to spread that equality to everyone, especially those that need it most. When we have a community suffering from systemic racism, socio-economic divisions and disadvantages in all matters of care, we should take note and recognize that we have a crisis. This crisis is bigger than Zika, bigger than ISIS, and vital to the core of our moral fabric as a society. And we must find a solution.
So here’s my question, as I sit in tears mourning the life of another black man mowed down by the police- what can I do to help? How can I make this better? How can I make the lives of the black community better? What could I, as an individual white woman, do? Because at this point, I am ready to dedicate my life to just that. I cannot, will not, just sit here and watch a generation of black men dying by the hands of police, or even each other. This must end, and it will only end when women and men, just like me (white) finally decide to take a stand. But my question to the world is, what does that “stand” look like? How do we progress forward? What steps are needed to start improving black lives?
Maybe the first step is protecting this country from spiraling backward and allowing Donald Trump to become our next President? But that isn’t enough. That isn’t going to fix the problems we currently have, that will only protect us from new issues. So If anyone has a suggestion of how one white girl can help save the lives of the black community, please let me know, because I can no longer sit idle and witness the injustice.