“I had a conversation with my husband today. I can’t express how sad I was to hear the hurt, anger, and frustration in his voice. It brought back so many hurtful memories for him and for me. Some may ask why this bothers me; it shouldn’t affect me because I’m not black. Let me be clear, this isn’t his fight. This is our fight. WE are a biracial married couple. WE are parents to Afro-Latino children. WE fear for our children as they get older, and I fear for him always.
I half expect people to say I’m being too sensitive, or paranoid, or whatever other adjective appears in their privilege colored glasses. Let me say this: having the conversation paired with some understanding can go a long way. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., having the conversation and understanding could’ve prevented a lot of the violence happening today. Don’t believe me? Check it out:
‘But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel like they have no alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight, that a riot is the language of the unheard.’
-Excerpt from ‘The Other America,’ Martin Luther King Jr.
Why are we as a society so scared to talk? Why are we so intent on dismissing the perspective of some when we truly have no clear understanding of what they are living? Recent events have highlighted cops on black crime. There is a long history of misguided and unnecessary violence inflicted on people of color by the police. I recently saw someone post that white people experience more police violence than any other race in America, and the post had some statistics attached to it. I’m not disputing whether or not that is the case. But I am questioning the following, when an innocent white person is killed by police:
Why aren’t you exercising your rights to protest unnecessary violence?
Why aren’t you bringing attention to these issues? You can’t say it doesn’t fit the media’s narrative. If you have a cell phone and you’re reading this, you are the media.
If you bring to me statistics about how more innocent white people are killed by police than any other race, I’m going to ask you, then why are people of color the only ones being labeled thugs? Why are they being discredited by old social media posts?
If you ask me if police lives matter less than black lives, I will reply with: ‘They don’t, but why are police officers given the opportunity to develop ‘a history of excessive force against minorities?’
This wasn’t meant to be an expression of racial biases. This is meant to try to gain understanding. I’m trying to understand if you fear for your spouse and children the same way people of color do. When you walk down the sidewalk of a shopping strip, do women grip their purses tighter until they can cross the street to avoid you? When was the last time you walked into a coffee shop and it got so quiet you could hear a pin drop, because you were too dark to be in there?
Have you ever gone to visit your spouse’s hometown and seen their family history as you drove down the road? At every bend of the road, you can see a field where they picked tobacco, cotton, and peanuts. And some fields hold trees where their loved ones were lynched. Have you ever been pulled over by police and separated from your spouse to be questioned, just so the police could accuse them of kidnapping you because you happen to look white? Have you ever gone on a road trip with a friend you’ve known for more than 20 years, just to get pulled over, separated, questioned, and asked if you were transporting WMD’s?
When was the last time you were reprimanded for correcting someone for how they pronounce your name? Only to be met with, ‘If you want me to say your name correctly, you should have a more American name.’ Have you ever had someone tell you how beautiful your children are, only to look at you with disgust at the sight of their father? Have you ever had to argue love over biology, because science says you shouldn’t marry outside your race? Have you lived in your neighborhood for more than a year and been pulled over by the police TWICE within a block of your home, only for them to tell you you don’t look like you belong and you look menacing?
You see, this isn’t just a black fight. This is a fight for everyone against racism, prejudice, and injustice. This is a fight for everyone who fears their loved one may not make it home because someone at the park doesn’t like the music they’re playing or because they are barbecuing too loud. This is a fight for anyone who is terrified to let their kids go play at the park, because it’s no longer just adults who are targets. Someone declared kids are fair game. THIS IS NOT A FIGHT AGAINST ALL COPS. THIS IS A FIGHT AGAINST BAD COPS.
I am personally calling on you. If you are someone who stands in the light of privilege, any type of privilege; if you are someone who has a platform, I am calling you to help us rise up. Help us take up arms. But rather than raising our guns, help us raise our voices. Help us raise our communities. Because we are being watched, and they are looking for any reason to make an example.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mayuri Palmer. You can follow their journey on their website. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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