This has been a hard morning for all of us, and my thoughts are a bit scattered. I’ve had a hard time putting everything in words, to be honest, but here goes anyway.
For those who don’t know, here in the US we recently had a peaceful protest against police brutality – specifically the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling – interrupted by sniper fire. Five police officers lost their lives and more were wounded. It’s the deadliest law enforcement attack since 9/11.
The death of those police officers in Dallas is a truly terrible thing. I have so much respect for our first responders (remember, valuing the police and wanting them to actually obey the law themselves are not mutually exclusive!), and seeing them ambushed was horrific. I in no way condone what happened.
However, my relationship to the police is very different than that of black people in the US. As a white femme ciswoman I see a cop and feel safer. I don’t fear getting shot in my car when I’m pulled over for a traffic violation. Should I be arrested I’m not scared I’ll die in custody. I can’t picture a scenario where cops gun me down outside of a convenience store, or walking down the stairs, or playing in the park.
Black people DO fear those things, though. Justifiably so. In case you’ve forgotten every single one of those above scenarios has resulted in black people – even black children – dying in the last year alone.
I can’t imagine the heartbreak of the families in Dallas, but I can’t imagine the heartbreak of watching my boyfriend shot to death beside me with my child in the backseat either.
Thing is, I know damn well that every single resource will be made available, and every effort will be made, to both apprehend the people who murdered those police officers and prevent the same thing from happening again. I have no such faith that the deaths of Philando Castile, and Alton Sterling, and every other black person shot by cops will receive the same level of care and attention. They certainly haven’t before.
ALL of these bodies can be laid at the feet of the racism infesting our criminal justice system like a plague. Peaceful protests and speaking out hasn’t fixed it yet. How much violence do we have to see, and how many people have to die, before we buckle down and commit to fixing what is so obviously broken???