Take a breath, be grateful you have that option
The names change, but the color does not. That is a elegantly tragic sentiment that came from Governor Cuomo. I’ve been trying to process everything about what happened to George Floyd and I’m not even close.
This has been a horrifying period of time to watch over and over as a thankfully now former Minneapolis policeman burrow his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. Paramedics were quote that Mr. Floyd was dead at the scene. The officer was so casual about making Mr. Floyd a victim that he had a one hand in a pants pocket while he snuffed the last breathe from Mr. Floyd.The cell phone camera has offered more protection to Black Americans than any law enforcement agency, court, prosecutor, elected official, or news organization.
The horrifying video has been a tipping point. Yes to protests and continued silence does nothing but add to body counts. While I am not a fan of the violent destruction of property, I get it. When you haven’t been heard, when you, time and time again, get ignored, shown that not all lives matter, I defy you dear reader to not want to lash out in some form.
While that form isn’t great, Target will be fine. Yes, there are some people taking advantage (of all colors) and some of the destruction was at the hands of folks paler than me, but consider that it took 4 days for that officer to be charged, 4 more for the other three officers there to be charged for killing him.
It seems like we are two countries, one that fights for equality and another who fights for brunch. Here I sit, as a middle aged white guy, who raised that we are all people, and I am seeking the council of Ben & Jerry’s, but for once not of their ice cream.
I am fortunate. I married into a proud African American family that welcomed me like my seat at the table was waiting for me to sit right at it. I was raised by two supportive parents who continually showed that while the world is a fundamentally a good place, it wasn’t such for everybody and that needed to change. It still does. My children are the three smartest people I know and I’m sorry that their African American side still faces that struggle that our elders know all too well. I know firsthand of some of the hurdles they have faced because of the ignorance of others and my imagination doesn’t want to envision what else they may have encountered when their mother or I wasn’t around. That they have love in the hearts shows me the incredible people they are in spite of what the world continues to want to serve up. My daughters have both married upstanding tremendous men. I want to appropriate what my one son-in-law posted earlier:
“Check in on your friends and family of color. Everyone needs support right now. Making this post to let everyone in my life know that if you don’t support people of color and #blacklivesmatter , we have no reason to be in contact. This is not a political agenda, it’s a human right violation. I love my black family and I support you.”
Spot on and goes for me too. Before you respond at all with “well, all lives matter,” just don’t. Yes, they should, but they haven’t. There is white folk then everybody else. I know I can drive through a suburb nearby without so much as raising an eye, given my impervious shield of white privilege while my black brother-in-law might raise some eyebrows for doing the exact same thing.
In race riots in Buffalo, NY in the late sixties, my dad was directed to hide out for safety in an office supply shop. I like believing my future father-in-law gave him that direction. Easy to imagine in that both my dad and my pop sought a better world.
Pale breathren, don’t ask your black friends how you can help all the sudden. This shit has been going on for a long damn time, not just since last week. and they’d be right to ask where’ve you been. We have a president who seems to hate everybody who isn’t in the donor database he keeps. He has looted his own foundation, the 9/11 relief fund, casino bond holders, people who trusted his only charity, military families for a wall he said Mexico would fund and the U.S. Treasury directly into his for-profit golf resorts. He is bigoted, documented liar and racist, who demanded yes man like subservience and you are lesser if you have spine. He apparently has no trouble tear gassing his own citizens, but when called on it denies it, despite evidence to the contrary. What the little bunker bitch needs to realize is that what will make this country great is realizing that we all need to be in this together. The marginalization of every culture nonwhite has been destructive and hasn’t really improved the white folks either. We haven’t been one, but in those rare times, those few instances where the matters immediately at hand trumped (there’s that word), like Hurricane Harvey, people have the capacity to pull together as one. It should stop being the exception and be the rule.Let’s keep talking, listening, remembering honoring and actually heeding the thought that
This I found on Facebook and am going to reshare as we need to remember people and how this situation needs to improve, that the riots are the voices of the unheard, but beyond the demonstrations…
In America – because I am a human who happens to have white skin, I can do all of these things without thinking twice:
I can go birding (#ChristianCooper)
I can go jogging (#AmaudArbery)
I can relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemSean and #AtatianaJefferson)
I can ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride)
I can have a cellphone (#StephonClark)
I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards)
I can play loud music (#JordanDavis)
I can sell CDs (#AltonSterling)
I can sleep (#AiyanaJones)
I can walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown)
I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice)
I can go to church (#Charleston9)
I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin)
I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own bachelor party (#SeanBell)
I can party on New Years (#OscarGrant)
I can get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland)
I can lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile)
I can break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones)
I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)
I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher)
I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott)
I can be a 10 yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover)
I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese)
I can ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans)
I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood)
I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo)
I can run (#WalterScott)
I can breathe (#EricGarner)
I can live (#FreddieGray)
I CAN BE ARRESTED WITHOUT THE FEAR OF BEING MURDERED (#GeorgeFloyd)
White privilege is real. Take a minute to consider a Black person’s experience today.
Living in your American skin shouldn’t get you killed no matter what color.
In the end, nobody wins, unless everybody wins.