We stand with you
If the global pandemic wasn’t enough, this week there have been cases of extreme racism in this country. The Amy Cooper story in Central Park grated my nerves to no end, but the George Floyd murder went completely beyond my comprehension.
I’ve talked to my 14-year-old son his entire life about racism and how to always treat others as he would like to be treated no matter who they are. He knows all about Martin Luther King Jr. and how to judge people not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
So it’s not surprising that he is not able to understand how so many unarmed black men are killed and I don’t know how else to explain it to him but that it is pure and simple racism.
I have such a hard time trying to explain racism to him as a white mother, so I can’t imagine how hard it would be to try to explain it to black kids as their mothers or fathers. Not only would they have to try to explain how their kids need to be extra careful and respectful to try to stay alive in this world, but they also have to try to explain how some of their white friends are true friends, but others are only friends to their face and not behind their backs. Not all white people are racist obviously, but how do you differentiate that as a black person, especially trying to navigate this world as a black kid with all that is going on? Think about that seriously.
George Floyd was accused of writing a bad check in Minnesota and we don’t even know if he did. Ahmaud Arbery may have trespassed or even stolen something from a construction site in Georgia. We still don’t know the details on either, but who cares? Even if they did something illegal, those crimes are not worth dying for, not even close. I can’t help but think how those situations would have been different if the roles were reversed. What if it were a black cop who kneed a white man by his neck to where he couldn’t breathe for 5-6 minutes and died for writing a bad check? What if it were two black men who chased down a white man running in the neighborhood and shot him dead with a shotgun?
You can see the difference in recent protests. White people protesting the government because they can’t get haircuts carrying guns, you just see videos of police standing around patrolling the areas. Black people protesting unarmed men getting killed there is usually tear gas and maybe some beatings. What’s the difference? What am I not seeing? (Disclaimer: I wrote this before the looting and burning of buildings began)
I don’t know what to do, but I do know that what has been done over the years from the black community is not working. I feel like it is time for us white people to stand up for our fellow man.
Maybe we need to have better legislation for hate crimes, including separate laws for police officers. Maybe there needs to be a change in law enforcement training. Maybe there needs to be stiffer punishments for people who kill someone who is unarmed and certainly if it is deemed to be for the color of their skin. I’m not sure. I certainly don’t know all the details of any of these incidents, but I can’t see how anyone doesn’t see that racism is still alive and thriving in our country. As actor Will Smith said this week, “racism is not getting worse, it’s getting filmed.” That hit the nail on the head for me.
On the Floyd case, just imagine you wake up on a Monday and are going to work or just out running errands. You get pulled over by the cops and the next thing you know you are being strangled by a cop with his knee while pleading for your life for minutes. What got me the most was Floyd was still being respectful and calling the officers “sir.” I’m sure the 46-year old was not thinking he was going to die that day, especially in that horrific way. I personally pray for his family and hope there is not only justice, but change.
I just cringe to think that one of my son’s friends could one day be running down a street or get pulled over for a non-violent crime and end up being murdered. It’s not right and something has got to change before we lose even one more person in a senseless crime.
Can we really call this the land of the free when we have this many people, citizens that I call my brothers and sisters and friends in this country in fear for their lives?
How can we say we are Christians and be racist against anyone if we are all created in God’s image and we are taught to love thy neighbor? How can we be Americans and believe that all “men” are created equal if in fact, some think they are better than others?
My son and I stand with you.