That is all I can really say when events like Christian Cooper and even more tragic, George Floyd happen.
When things like this take over the headlines there are inevidentable protests and looting. And in the bookish community I try and involve myself in on Instagram there are stacks on stacks on stacks of books related to racism that make their rounds.
And for me the whole thing is a fucked up Catch-22. Violent protests and looting I do not understand. How does looting a business preserve the memory of an individual who senselessly loss their life at the hands of presumed authority? How does physically attacking the police justify a life loss? IT FUCKING DOESN’T.
The other day I was talking to a co-worker of mine. She is also black, and my first black co-worker in all the years I have worked for my department. We both agreed that people need to stop with the violence after such an injustice. That what is needed is education. People need to pick up books and read them and educate themselves. Which brings me to the black-on-black-on-black stacks on books. Posted promdomintely by white people.
I applaud their efforts. They are trying. I feel like a lot of these (mostly women) are the type that when told they might be displaying racist traits would say “I’m not racist, I have a black friend!”
For the record, if anyone reading this ever said such things… know that black people can be racist too. And I have found black people to make more outwardly racist comments than white folk.
I feel like a lot of the white people posting these books would be like Amy Cooper in Central Park when a black man confronts them about simply following the rules of the park. Amy Cooper I’m sure even has some (if not all) of those books on her own shelves to prove to other people that she is not racist.
Racism takes places in many forms. From the outright violence against someone because of the color of their skin, to the subconscious idea that you are better than someone else because of the color of your skin compared to them. And to make those injustices “go away” you cannot simply act a fool in the streets, or read a bunch of books. You need to BE better. You need to DO better. Please remember though that the actions of one do not represent the attitude of all.
If you live in a nice upper-class white neighborhood and a black family moved in, how would that make you feel?
If your son or daughter came home saying they were going to marry a black person, what would you say?
If you had biracial extension of your family, would you be happy that offspring came out looking more like you than them?
The responses to these questions are where the change needs to happen. You have to show your children that being black does not make you more suspicious than being white. The stereotypes have to be broken. I work really fucking hard my entire life to not lose my shit to avoid the “angry black woman” narrative. And there are plenty of times where I would have been well within my rights to be that angry black woman. But I don’t. I want to be better. I want to do better. I want to show people that only know surface level me that how black people are represented in the media is not necessarily all, or partially true. We do know how to speak and carry ourselves in a professional manner. We are not “ghetto”. We are human, just like you and our worth is no less than yours.
Black people, you don’t need to act like a fool when dealing with the cops. You act a fool, they act a fool… just like anyone else. Being black does not give you the right to be an asshole.
I feel like my job on this planet is show people you can be both black and work for the police. You can still be black and marry a white man and have light skinned children. You can be black, and have an education and know hot to speak to people. You can be black and vote for trump. You can be black and live in a white world. Just because someone is Black does not mean they can only be a certain way; they only fit into a particular box. I believe that cops are good but there are a few bad apples that somehow make them all look bad.
Someone will read this and say she’s not black enough.
Someone will read this and say she’s been brainwashed.
Maybe that’s true, but my goal is to educate. To show my kids how to do better. To show other people that they can be better and that it does not take much. And you certainly do not need to PROVE to anyone else that you are better. Just do the right fucking thing.