“My husband and I have been having a lot of fun getting out for runs together lately!
The bad news and the update is, running is one of the most anxiety-producing things we do together.
My husband usually runs in front of me for two reasons – the first reason is that he is faster than me and the second reason I will share momentarily.
Because he runs in front of me, I get to watch him the whole time I’m running – which means I see every time a car drives past him. Sometimes the car drives really slowly, and I spend a few seconds agonizing about why they are driving slower and wondering if they’re about to ask him if he ‘lives around here’ and attack him if they aren’t happy with his answer. I envision a gun barrel poking out the window of the car and shooting my beautiful, perfect, kind husband in the face. Every. Time.
The second reason my husband always runs in front of me is I don’t want someone to think he is chasing me if he runs behind me. White women have a horrible pattern of falsely accusing black men of atrocities – and that narrative is in your head whether you know it or not. So, if someone called 911 out of fear for my fragile white life and told them a black man was chasing a white woman down the street – they wouldn’t think twice about dispatching officers immediately. And I’m terrified of what would happen then.
We have a rule in our house that if we ever have to call the police to our home, I will be the one to answer the door – because I’m afraid they’ll think my husband is the reason they were called and they’ll kill him first and ask questions later.
If you’re reading this, you probably know my husband. Funny, thoughtful, nerdy, outgoing, caring, sweet Emmanuel. You know him.
I want you to picture it was him being pinned to the ground under an officer’s knee – slowly suffocating and passing away. I want you to picture it was him bird watching in the park and a white woman PURPOSELY told the police an African American man was threatening her life. SHE DID THAT ON PURPOSE. She knew exactly what could happen if the police heard something like that.
We don’t have children yet, but I’m terrified of what might happen to them. I think of the little 15-year-old black girl at a pool party in a town less than 10 miles from us, who was thrown to the ground in her bathing suit by a police officer who then proceeded to slam her head into the grass repeatedly, then kneeled on top of her back.
How are we supposed to bring children into this world? What rules will I have to teach them I didn’t grow up with myself? ‘Sweetie, I’m sorry I know it’s cold in the grocery store, but you can’t wear your hoodie inside – people might think you’re trying to steal something.’ ‘Darling, never ever, ever speed but also don’t drive *too* slowly – you don’t want to give a police officer an excuse to pull you over because when you reach for your ID, they might think you’re pulling a gun and shoot you on sight. And no one will care because you were born with black skin, just like Daddy.’
Black lives matter. And if you don’t know what black lives matter really stands for, ASK!
For those of you (specifically white people) who made it this far, this is where I need your support. If you are a white person, post SOMETHING about your feelings about recent events (which of course aren’t just recent – but focusing on the ones that are in the news right now is a good place to start). We have a responsibility to use our privilege to amplify the black voices that are constantly dismissed. We have to try. It feels hopeless, but we have to try.
Write something. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just try. Make an effort. You never know if there is someone in your sphere of influence who subconsciously thinks some really dark things – and maybe, just maybe, you can help get inside their heads and change their thinking – before it’s too late for yet another person of color.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ashlee Aouad. You can follow their journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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