I don’t know how to begin this. I’m almost shaking as I type. It’s so hard to put my opinion out there. It’s hard as a white woman to speak up about this issue, but that point alone is what is driving me over the edge.
In the last 3 days, I’ve caught word of 2 deaths by cop followed by an attack that left 5 officers dead and 7 more injured. 7 people lost their lives. 14 parents grieved the loss of their sons with an agony I can’t even imagine. As soon as I heard about the two men shot by the police, I was heart-stricken. I couldn’t finish watching the videos. I saw 2 men in uniforms roll off of a man named Alton Sterling with curse words in their mouths, seemingly disappointed that the altercation ended in a life lost. Alton was 37 years old as he took his last breaths with his body shaking. It killed me to see that. He was younger than some of my siblings. In another video, I heard a young woman, Diamond Reynolds speaking in a tone that was most likely fueled by pure adrenaline and fear as she wondered if her partner, Philando Castile was dead or alive next to her in the passenger seat. I didn’t watch it long enough, but I heard she had a young daughter in the back seat. Could you imagine the fear?
While I wondered about the heart of everyone involved, I knew as soon as I heard of the stories that both their intent and the details of the events would be worthless. We would be hearing from two different groups of people very soon. The first group would disregard the immediate threats leading up to the guns going off and any detail that would point to a justified action on the officer’s parts. The second group would search for any excuse for why it took place, with no regard to a big problem that IS, IN FACT HAPPENING IN AMERICA.
I’m not going to argue why these black men had to die. They didn’t have to die. For one reason or another they are dead and their families will be forever affected by it. It SEEMS like police tried and struggled to taze and disarm Alton, who looked to be resisting and possibly violent. I can’t really say whether or not he was a true threat or what was going on in the officers’ minds as they pulled the trigger and either can you. I’m especially in the dark about Philando, whose family was in the car with him. The video starts too late to have a CLUE about what went on for ourselves. I’m skeptical, but I can only hope all of these officers were just doing their jobs.
Bottom line is, I don’t know these people, their integrity or the situation enough to make a judgement, and either do you. I can only hope that the result was decided with a pure heart. I tried to put myself in the shoes of those involved. What would I do as an officer if I knew someone I was fighting to the ground was reaching for a gun? I’d shoot first. Honestly, in a panic, I probably would have pulled the trigger a lot sooner. What would I do as a citizen if I were being confronted by a police officer? I’d listen up and follow orders.
ESPECIALLY IF I WAS A MINORITY.
Why did I say that? Because as much as we want to believe the best out of every person, there is still very much racial hate in this nation, This is not a race problem. This is an individual person problem. White people are not racist. Black people are not racist. Hispanics are not racist. Police officers are not racist. People are racist. Men who tell their little girls they can’t marry outside of their color are racist. That’s not pride for your heritage. That’s hate. SHOOT ME DOWN IF I’M WRONG. We have a big problem going on here and it’s not coming from the police force. It’s coming from the individual who dehumanizes and devalues the life of another human.
It tears me up that my husband has to worry about how his Latino family will receive me. I don't want him to be negatively effected for choosing me over someone of his own race. It bothers me that little Hmong girls are being prevented from associating with little white girls from their neighborhood. I was the little white girl who was rejected by my Hmong friend’s father. Statements from black women saying they’re afraid for their black children gets me a little angry. Not because I’m not also afraid for their children - I’m afraid for all CHILDREN. I’m afraid for every future heart that has the potential of being disliked or judged or harmed by their skin tone. We’ve heard it a million times, but we really need to receive this: We are all created in the image of our Creator. There really is no difference between us. Racial hate is not anymore an attack on the black community than on the white community. It’s an attack on the people of this nation and it affects every one of us. Don’t look at me like I don’t understand. Don’t act like this doesn’t affect me or my family. Alton is my brother, too. The police officers whose lives were lost last night are my brothers. If you say Alton’s death pertains to you more than it pertains to me because I’m white, you’re just as guilty of the racism you assume the officers to have. I recognize hate. I just refuse to believe hate against blacks is more important or happening any more than the hatred that is taking place against every race. I refuse to believe that officer involved shootings are more than often an act of hatred toward black people. There were more than 600 officer involved deaths in this country this year. Less than 4% of those involved a black civilian. Every one of these lives are worth mourning over. I understand there’s fear. I understand there’s history. Don’t let those things make you blind to the big picture. Don’t let the devil trick you into thinking you’re the only one, or you’re the only race this is happening to. There are many, many good people; many good police officers-way, way more good than bad. There are many good black people; many more good than bad. The association between racial hate and police officers is an unfortunate misconception that’s been blown way out of proportion. It’s about as hurtful as the unfortunate misconception of all black men being dangerous thugs. Likewise, pretending there’s no such thing as a black thug is about as ridiculous as pretending there are no racist officers. Need I say that thugs and racist officers come in all races. This segregated mindset is getting us in trouble.
With that being said, we cannot fix this problem by holding up every racially diverse gun show as an example of racial hatred. It discredits a very valid problem. It hinders the cause. It sets us back. We need to look at these people, these officers and all those involved, as people. We need to be sure to identify hate crimes correctly and bring only those true accounts to everyone’s attention. Lastly, we need to raise awareness that constitutes peaceful change instead of violent change. Our nation is on the line. Our people are on the line. Our justice system is on the line. Our childrens’ futures are on the line. 1 race alone will not fix this. We need to come together.
God help us.
From the heart of a grieving American Citizen