I’ve got a lot on my mind and I’m having trouble putting it in a cohesive blog so we’re gonna do this bullet style this time.
- Ever since Colin Kaepernick started his protest last year I’ve supported him. Why? Because he was doing it for the right reasons. To shine a light on police brutality and racial inequity in this country.
- People who say that the protests are about disrespecting veterans ignore the fact that Kap started sitting not kneeling and only started kneeling when he spoke to veterans who told them they prefer kneeling to sitting. So he took the feedback given to specifically show he was not doing it to disrespect the people who serve/d in the military.
- The flipping of this narrative since the man who is President called NFL athletes who joined in the protest SOBs is disturbing. Despite saying over and over and over again. “This is about police brutality this is about racial justice!” Trump changed the protest into something about patriotism and respect.
- I will never be what you call a patriotic person(3 weeks of the Olympic Games every 2 years aside). I don’t even believe America is the greatest country in the world. Now before you say “why don’t you leave if you hate the USA”. Let me say I appreciate and value the freedoms I enjoy. I just don’t believe that America can do no wrong. I acknowledge this bloody history of people of color here and the continued systemic ways they are devalued. I think America is “aight” but we can definitely do better. It is only by calling these wrongs out and not glossing over them that we can address and rectify these ills.
- It annoys me that many of these players didn’t feel the need to kneel or join in these protests until Trump said something. Where was the solidarity for Kaepernick last year? Not to mention some of these displays seem like they’re for show only disregarding the reason behind why Kaepernick was protesting. *looking at you Jerry Jones & Dallas Cowboys*
- In the midst of all this controversy Trump still has done squat for Puerto Rico. The mom of the best man in our wedding lives there. While the president was worried about NFL players people there don’t have electricity or clean drinking water.
- When he finally deigned to tweet about PR and Hurricane Maria he mentioned the billions in debt PR owes Wall St. If that is not a blatant disrespect and lack of compassion to brown people I don’t know what is. “Texas and Florida we are sending help. Puerto Rico you owe us money. Good luck with that natural disaster recovery”.
So in summation.
- #TakeaKnee is about combating police brutality and racial injustice not patriotism.
- Puerto Rico is an US territory with American citizens and needs help NOW.
- Donald Trump is still trash.
Let’s take a moment to discuss coded language. In the wake of the Anthony Lamar Smith/Jason Stockley verdict (and really after any verdict involving a police shooting and the resulting protests) I’m seeing people refer to protestors as “thugs”, “animals”, “paid protestors” and “agitators”. Ask any POC and we see these words used in place of the N-word and other racial slurs.
I even interacted with someone upset that Missouri was trying to limit animal rights protestors but did not make the same connection or want to be associated with BLM protestors cause animal rights activists are “peaceful and follow the law”.
Yt people when you allow your friends and family to use this kind of language unchecked POC see it. We see that you aren’t challenging the idea that all black people are criminals. We see that you think as long as people aren’t flinging slurs at us that that things are getting better. Well they’re not. Your klansmen have changed out their hoods and white robes for red MAGA hats and khakis. They’ve changed their chants from “Heil Hitler” to “Build a Wall”. And they’ve stopped Lynching people in favor of a war on drugs to funnel black people into the industrial prison pipeline.
So the next time someone talks about protestors in this kind of coded language. Engage them. Make them question why these people are thugs but not white women in pussy hats. Why do they defend the rights of white supremacists to keep Confederate monuments but not Colin Kaepernick to peacefully kneel during the anthem? Rip away the polite veneer of their casual racism.
Yesterday morning a friend tagged me in a video on FB, an updated version of Where is the Love by the Black Eyed Peas featuring several other artists and addressing Syria refugee crisis and police brutality.
Where is The Love 2016
Before I even had time to finish the video someone had commented that they didn’t like it because of rappers not taking “responsibility for thugs” and then proceeded to say that they didn’t like artists trying to make money off of racism. Now anytime anyone makes an argument about rappers, violence, and “thug” culture I’m reminded of Cam’ron taking Bill O’Reilly down several years ago on the same issue.
When I disagreed with this commenter and stated “I’m more comfortable around thugs than the police” they got so upset telling me they were a Law Enforcement Officers wife and I shouldn’t call the police then. The implication being that if I’m wary or distrustful of the police I have no right to call them in an emergency. This reaction is not uncommon. I’ve seen it again and again. Someone has a loved one who is a cop or in law enforcement, so any critique of the Justice system is an attack on them and thus the person should not call 911. Or next time they need help they “should call Black Lives Matter instead of the police”.
I have several issues with this:
- People are upset because the cops are not appreciated. I get that it hurts when someone doesn’t value your work. However if a police officer is doing their job for appreciation they are in the wrong field. If you want adoration become an actor.
- The implication that certain people should not recieve help based on their views. Critiquing police responses in minority communities does not mean that I relinquish my right to get help in an emergency.
- That any critique is automatically on par with Fuck Da Police mentality. That critique can not be in hope of improving relationships and saving black and brown lives. How we do improve if we do not critique what is wrong with the system?
By lunch time I’d heard about the verdict in the Anthony Lamar Smith/Jason Stockley. I racked my brain cause I couldn’t remember hearing about this shooting. Which sadly didn’t surprise me because the killing of unarmed black men is so commonplace that it’s hard to keep track of the hash tags. In this case it was because it had happened almost 6 years ago. Anthony Lamar Smith was shot and killed by police officer Jason Stockely in 2011. Stockley was not charged until August 2016. It took almost 5 years to even charge him with murder. Today the judge found him not guilty on all counts. Stockley is ON VIDEO saying “were gonna kill this motherfucker” and then shooting Smith five times less than a minute later. And was still found not guilty. I now question what is the criteria for finding a police officer guilty if not this premediation.
After the police officers who killed Terence Crutcher and Philando Castile were not found guilty this was just one more reason for me to be disenfranchised with police and the Justice system.
So I can respect the police for difficult job they have. I can appreciate that they put their lives in danger everyday. But I refuse to become a law enforcement apologist everytime another black body is dead on the ground. They have enough Blue Lives Matter supporters lining up to tell us what the victim did to deserve their fate. I don’t need to add my voice to the din. The Justice system continually prioritizes their lives and voices over those who are slain.
Instead I will listen to the voices that are mourning, the voices who are tired, frustrated and angry. I will advocate for the “thugs who had it coming” and the people who’d be alive “if they’d only complied”. Because those are voices that are ignored by LEO defenders and Back the Blue supporters. Those are the voices we NEED to listen to if our police departments have any hope of building a bridge to communities who view them with foreboding and distrust. I for one will listen and not dismiss. Engage and not ignore.