I have drafted many essays at the breaking of too many headlines about racial profiling and police brutality. And part of not posting is that I don’t post most drafts. But a bigger part than I would like to admit is fear. I say enough on my Facebook to show support, and I have posted a few racially related things here, but when it comes to these headlines…
I don’t want my conservative white friends to be mad at me (it sounds stupid typing it out, but it’s true). I also don’t want to appear to have more license to speak than I ought to. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes; I am a white girl with a lot of privilege and I don’t have the slightest clue what it means to be black in this country.
But life is short – too short to be afraid of doing it wrong – and I’ve got a voice. And even if nobody reads this little blog – even if they do, but pretend they didn’t – this is where I get to say my piece. And where I should when it is more harmful to be silent. If my privilege affords me any special treatment I should be using it well.
My heart is sick for the officers and their families. And for the men killed over the last several days and their families. Sick.
Death happens on its own. And it’s awful. I wish we could stop killing each other. Damn.
I am the daughter of a Peace Officer so I see my dad in the headlines and I know there is a daughter weeping this morning, still in shock. I am also the wife and mother of black men so my privilege to ignore is out the window; I see my husband, my child, in the headlines, too. That 12 year old kid with the fake gun? The man with a gun permit reaching for his license?
So yes: ALL LIVES MATTER. Of course they do. Emphatically, yes. But while it is still more of a risk for a black person to encounter law enforcers than it is for me, I’m going to be an ally, be a good neighbor and say what shouldn’t have to be said, but is apparently still necessary to state. That #blacklivesmatter just like the rest of our lives matter. Just like police lives matter and gay lives matter and white lives matter and drunk lives and poor lives and kind lives and smelly lives and ALL LIVES. But right now, at this point in history we need to listen to the people crying out for help and acknowledge that they have legitimate fears here. They understandably don’t believe we hear them when they insist that there is a problem and that they are worth figuring this out.
To all in Law Enforcement, I am so deeply sorry for your loss and the stinging reminder this is to you and your loved ones that your job carries inherent risks and that not everyone makes it home. I know you wear your badge proudly and that you love the work you do in your own communities. I’m grateful for your sacrifices. I pray that the families of the fallen officers are given comfort and that no one is foolish enough to tell them their grief is undeserved because of political tension. I didn’t know those officers, but I’ll assume they were good and honest peacekeepers and the world is a little worse off without them.
To my black friends, to my children, YOU ARE WORTH FIGURING THIS OUT. You are worth the uncomfortable reality checks and the work it takes to overcome our prejudices. You are worth listening to and when you say you’ve had enough I hear you. You are worth the space you take up in the world and worth the repentance from those of us unwillingly complicit in a system of degradation. I am so deeply sorry for the deaths which are sending painful ripples through your communities. I pray that the families of the black men killed are given comfort and that no one is foolish enough to tell them their grief is undeserved because of political tensions. I didn’t know them either, but I’ll assume they were good and honest peacemakers and the world is a little worse off without them.
There is more to be said about all of this. More listening, more processing, more facets to explore. But this morning, as we all wake up with heavy hearts, I just offer my deepest sympathy and my solidarity. Love to all of us and comfort to all the mourners.