Oakland, Cleveland, Ferguson and so many other cities and towns and now, Baton Rouge. Another Black person dead under questionable circumstances involving the police. Another life taken too soon. Another family left to grieve. Another community wanting answers. Wanting justice and knowing it’s unlikely to come. We have been down this road many times before and the sad reality is that without systemic change that also involves accountability, we will go down this road again.
In too many instances, the dead person is accused of having brought their death upon themselves for a litany of reasons. The specifics don’t matter because when we have a system that is desensitized and sees Black and Brown bodies as inherent threats, our lives as disposable any excuse or justification for our murders will do. This year alone reports indicate that in excess of 120 Black people have been killed by the police. These are not isolated incidents, especially when the fallout affects all Black and Brown people.
How do you trust a system that is indifferent to your humanity? How do you teach your children that police officers are people who will help them when you know that is not a universal truth? When you know that Black children have lost their lives at the hands of the police. How do you have hope in a world that is indifferent to Black pain and suffering only when it can be consumed as trauma porn as people watch and share videos of our killings and yet do little or nothing else beyond that?
Whenever one of these shootings goes down, it is not only the deceased’s loved ones that feel the pain and void; it is also the collective Black and Brown family that feels the pain because never is the thought far away that it could be your family next. Whether you live in the hood, the burbs or the country. Whether you are blue collar, white collar or rich as hell, you know this so-called random happening could just as easily happen to you and yours.
Raising Black children in this day and age is an act of courage because you wonder: How do you keep them safe? How do you keep them open and loving in a world that can snatch them away from you at any moment? When you see the mothers and wives grieving openly, as a mother, you feel their collective pain in your body as surely as you felt your own labor pains.
We will Facebook, tweet, write our think-pieces, march and maybe even raise some money to help the family out but it is never enough. It is never enough. Until the day when the collective human family that involves our white brothers and sisters feels this pain and rises up to demand accountability that starts locally and spreads outwardly, we will be here again.
Black Lives Matter and so do the lives of all non white people who are too rarely acknowledged as part of the greater human family.
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