I’d like to share something with all of you. I’m not on Facebook, nor do I like Facebook. I think the platform is intrusive and, quite frankly, a danger to America in many ways, especially now, with the complicit Mark Zuckerberg refusing to fact check any political ads, regardless of whether they are outright lies. That’s a story for another day.
But while I’m not a participant on the platform, my wife is, and she shared a post with me that’s been getting a lot of attention. It’s very subtle and understated, but it shows the sheer volume of young black men and women who’ve lost their lives in recent years. For, quite simply, being a person of color in America and engaging in activities that many of us could never imagine might jeopardize our lives.
I do not have that problem. I’m white and have never once been stopped by the police in my lifetime of nearly 59 years for anything other than an occasional moving violation in my car. I never felt threatened, didn’t think I had to put both hands on the wheel, and I certainly didn’t feel the need to be overly polite or deferential. Respectful, yes. But I never felt my life was in danger.
Thus, to be white in America, I’m afforded privileges that other people of color are not. Many on the right side of the political spectrum refuse to accept this narrative. To them, we’re all Americans and have equal opportunity to achieve success and achievement. What zipcode you were born in matters not, they say. Sorry, but they’re wrong.
And it’s that failure to come to grips with what ails the nation that prevents us from ever reaching societal peace and equality. Much of this poisoned thinking exists within our law enforcement departments throughout the country. We know there are good cops out there, but there are too many bad ones as well. It’s a tough job by any measure, but until we find a comprehensive way to weed out the bad ones, what you see happening now on the streets of America will continue far into the future.
The names below are human beings, taken from us in one form or another by cops for the most part, but in some cases from vigilantes masquerading as cops (note: the list includes Christian Cooper, the gentleman that Amy Cooper called the police on in Central Park because she feared her life was in danger although his only sin, apparently, was asking her to leash her dog).
Many of these names you will not recognize, nor do I. The more high profile cases we probably would have never heard about but for modern-day technology: the camera phone. How many suffered the same fate before the advent of this technology? Look at the list and multiply it many times over.
Many of them were simply doing things most of us take for granted–at least those of us coming from the perspective of being white. Our friends on the other side of the aisle will fight me on this, and I’m ok with that. My Trump-loving friends will undoubtedly disagree. So be it.
That they were taken from us in such a violent way reflects the dangerous and aggressive society in which we live. Weapons of war in the hands of the police and our fellow citizens set us apart from most other Western democracies. For that, we should be ashamed.
Please share the list with as many folks as you can, especially those who may not agree with the concept of white privilege. If we can sway even a few, is it not worth it?
White privilege is real.
I have privilege as a White person because I can do all of these things without thinking twice about it…
I can go jogging (#AmaudArbery).
I can relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemSean and #AtatianaJefferson).
I can ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride).
I can have a cellphone (#StephonClark).
I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards).
I can play loud music (#JordanDavis).
I can sell CD’s (#AltonSterling).
I can sleep (#AiyanaJones)
I can walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).
I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).
I can go to church (#Charleston9).
I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).
I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own bachelor party (#SeanBell).
I can party on New Years (#OscarGrant).
I can get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).
I can lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).
I can break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).
I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford) .
I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).
I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott).
I can be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover).
I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).
I can ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).
I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).
I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo).
I can run (#WalterScott).
I can breathe (#EricGarner).
I can live (#FreddieGray).
I can ask someone to put a leash on their dog when it is required in the public park we are in (#ChristianCooper).
I CAN BE ARRESTED WITHOUT THE FEAR OF BEING MURDERED. #GeorgeFloyd