It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. I am so sorry to come to you this late, but I woke up this morning with peace in my heart—which later turned into sorrow. I am sure by now you have heard, read, and watched about the recent police shootings that have occurred in the last few days. There is no easy way to explain it-no matter how hard you try.
Although both stories are still unraveling and more details are being revealed, the outcome still remains the same—both men are dead! They were someone’s son, brother, husband, father, and friend. When you look at the “past” shootings there is one variable that seems constant—and that is the color of their skin…BLACK. But the question still remains why black, why us? What’s so wrong about the color black that it ignites hatred in some people? A hatred so deep—that they lose sight of the person in front of them—a human being.
I migrated to this country when I was eight years old, and today I remember one of the first conversations I had with my white elementary school principal, Ms. Rhodes. Ms. Rhodes (as she was called at that time) is one of my mom’s best friends. She grew up in the south and comes from a very loving and respectful family. When she met my brothers and me I could see the joy and worry in her face at the same time.
She said “Evelyn you have such beautiful children. They are full of life and innocence. But there is one thing you have to teach them Evelyn, I beg of you, you have to continue to teach them to respect the law. Now I have taught my son, when the cops pull you over you say ‘yes sir, no sir’ don’t get loud with them, don’t get rude with them because right there in that instant they have all the power. You do what you have to do, follow every instruction, ask questions on what you are not clear on and just comply. Just so you can get out of there alive. But with your boys being ‘black’ excuse me to say it’s gonna be ten times harder! So please tell them over and over again.”
As harsh, simple and difficult that might have been for Ms. Rhodes to have said that to a black woman, with black children—especially two black boys, it was the painful truth. But now complying doesn’t seem to be enough.
They have a problem with the blackness of our skin, so we comply; however, with the recent wake of news it seems that may no longer be an option.
When is enough, enough? Seems no matter what you do you can still end up dead. So then what do we teach our young black women and men? What do we tell them? To comply and hope for the best? And what is “that best” anyway—being shot at but hoping not to die? When does this end and how does it end because it honestly doesn’t make sense anymore…