I just read & watched Feidin Santana's account of Walter Scott's murder and I am terrified for him and for us-Black and Brown people- in general. Completely terrified and infuriated. Yes this cop has been charged but only because Santana filmed what happened. The system that so many people say will let "justice do it's job" is a system designed to protect a police state that terrorizes and slays Black and Brown bodies simply because the system says they can and will rarely be punished for it. I've said this before but I'm going to keep repeating it until SOMETHING REAL changes, until your heart is moved into action.
White friends, imagine living in a skin that leaves you open and vulnerable to being hunted and slain just because you were born with it. Imagine living in a skin that others find threatening or ugly or not as good as White skin. Imagine living in a skin that forces you to carry the constant uncertainty of whether a interaction you have with a White person will subject you to micro aggressions, harassment, debasement, or result in the ending of your life. Imagine not knowing who to trust just because history and daily living has taught you that your existence, your humanity, and your life mean nothing when White supremacy decides on a whim to deliberately diminish it mentally or snuff it out completely.
White mothers-imagine having a child with Black or Brown skin. Imagine sitting with a revolving door of fear that as they grow your ability to protect them physically and mentally from racism and from a "justice" system that doesn't serve or protect their personhood is being whittled away. Imagine your grip on the hope you've carried in your heart about their future since the moment they left your body loosening as they look less and less like innocent children to our society. Imagine doing everything right as their parent. Imagine raising them to realize their potential and know their worth and to be proud of their skin. But also imagine having to teach them the realities of living in it, how to persevere in spite of them, and yet still sit with that fear revolving around your heart because this society has yet to move past lynching and hunting bodies housed within Black skin.
I'm serious-I want you to sit with that. I want you to let the weight of it crush your chest and restrict your breathing. Let that fear, that pain, constrict your heart and horrify your soul. Sit and imagine what it's like to live with a skin deemed unworthy just because it is different. Imagine what it's like to have a history in this country of being slaughtered, of having your humanity ignored, of having your existence wrung out of every pore of your skin. And then realize you CAN'T because it has never been a reality for you and never will be.
And when that White guilt starts creeping into your mind & heart shut it the fuck down and get up. Warm up those vocal chords and start talking. Start checking folks who won't let White supremacy in all its overt & covert ways go. Friends, family, everyone-give no one immunity. Do it in love, sure, but give no one immunity, spare no one's feelings.
Start paying attention to businesses, organizations and other entities who don't value diversity and make it their top priority. Start looking at your elected officials and who's running for office in your district, your city, your state, and call them to the carpet about diversity, racism, and the system when you cast your ballots. Stop electing officials who protect and maintain the status quo. If they don't place real value on Black and Brown life they don't deserve to serve or protect anybody.
Teach your kids that Black and Brown skin is beautiful, incredible, strong, and that the humanity it envelops is just as worthy as theirs. Teach them the expansive and thorough history they don't get in the classroom. Teach them diversity matters and make it a value that becomes ingrained deeper in their subconscious than the sneaky and insidious messages reinforced in our current society. Teach them how to speak up and not settle for less. Teach them that my 8 year old, 5 year old, and 18 month old sons' lives matter. Make it imperative that they know without a shadow of a doubt that Black and Brown lives matter.
Start making your voice and your power known. Use both to blow the system your history has built to fucking pieces. Why? Because the system values YOU. The system validates YOU. It benefits YOU. It will hear YOU. It hears YOUR voice and cares about YOUR desires, safety and livelihood and that of YOUR children's. You have to start being just as deliberate and methodological as the system in this work because as my friend Karen said earlier today on Facebook: racism may be our problem to deal with but it is not ours to fix. We didn't create it, nor did we create the constructs that exist within it. The burden of it is on our backs and taking our lives-always has been. But it is not on us to fix it. That burden lies with you. So what will you do?
It shouldn't take yet another horrific video taken by another Black man who is now even MORE of a target, for justice to be called to the carpet and forced to serve and protect. (And remember, justice picks and chooses on a whim who it will) It shouldn't take the systematic and deliberate execution of our bodies for you to destroy the system. Y'all have got to do the work because WE are too busy trying fight for our right to just EXIST and stay alive in the process. Y'all have to do the work. On your job, in your home, in your places of worship, in your daily life, you have to actively tear this deadly and god forsaken system down brick by fucking brick.