By J Kerubo
Today I sat in a room with about a hundred people. It was a space our Commissioner of Health provided for us to talk about our feelings post the shootings.
When the email came, I was hesitant to go. But I’m so glad I did. To see my fellow black women weep over their fears for their sons–whom they’ve trained from a young age on how to interact with the police–made me shed all the tears I’ve been holding back. One black woman said that she’s asked God for several years why He gave her a son. One white woman said she’s afraid to have a child with her black partner.
Another woman said that all she’s asked God for is for her sons to make it to age 25! These raw emotions and truths spoke to my own fears. That one day I might carry a child, mixed or black, but I’d never fully experience the joy of pregnancy as a white or Asian woman might; and that my child will never experience real freedom outside of our home because of all the unconscious biases that precede a black person.
My personal fears aside, I want to thank all my white friends here on Facebook who consistently speak out against all kinds of atrocities, and who’re always seeking justice and fairness for all. Black people already know what to do, and as we saw in the MN shooting, we can be good citizens and it won’t matter in the hands of the wrong policeman. We need you to keep seeking justice for all–you’ll be heard louder more than we ever will be. As Beyoncé said, we don’t need sympathy, we need respect.
The notion that we’re separate is an illusion. The idea that we can build a great life for ourselves separate from the madness in the world is insane. What we’re doing is raising more children in “otherness.” We’re bound by our humanity, and for that alone, we must not wait for pain to hit us personally before we stand up and do what we can legally do to improve our coexistence.
As for those who feel that protests upend their lives and they wonder why black people just can’t sit down and shut up, perhaps this isn’t the country or the world for you. Every freedom you have–including your right to align with bigots and to spew racist stuff in the same pages you share Bible verses–has been earned through the blood, tears, and backs of many people of every race and including all law enforcement and the military. What have you offered?
Justice for all the police officers who were shot in Dallas; for Alton Sterling; for Philando Castile; and all others.