Some of my well-meaning friends may think I’m over the top for always wanting to know where my grown sons are, especially the 19 year old and who is with. I’ve heard comments like “you know that’s what young people do right, or he’s just a kid so ease up.”
Let me tell you why this matters so much to me. The tragic deaths of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Botham Jean and so many others is why. For decades black mothers and wives have been plagued by fear because of situations like these. It even dates back to slavery when families were torn apart and both children and parents were left to fend for themselves with no resolution to the unbearable grief unjustly served to them because black lives simply weren’t important. So honestly, not worrying is a luxury we can’t afford.
The latest to add to my outrage about the treatment of black men and women in America is the death of Ahmaud Arbery. This young man was shot in February in Georgia and the shooters were not charged claiming self-defense. In the last week, a video surfaced that seems to debunk their claims and I’m pissed! I was pissed before the video because the question in my mind was …. what really happened? What if this video did not surface? Would it have continued to be swept under the carpet? What will happen now that it has surfaced? Will these men who shot this man who was jogging get away with it despite the video?
Officials now say a real investigation happening. This is a good thing but why did it take social media and public outrage to make it happen and or for policymakers to speak openly about it? This is too often the story. Things happen and no one believes the people who have no voice, the dead! The grieving families speak on behalf of them but they aren’t heard until there is public outcry that outweighs the desire of officials to ignore the issues. And even when that does happen, the next step is always the same. Someone mysteriously does some digging to discredit the legacy of the deceased. In this case, it has already happened. Let me be clear. So because of past indiscretions does that mean a person deserves to be hunted down and killed? If a person paid their debt to society, made restitution, etc or in some cases served time does that mean when someone kills them later they didn’t matter because they did something stupid years before? GTHOH!!!! Let’s separate the issues and deal with them accordingly.
I don’t know where this story will end up. What I do know is that a family is grieving AGAIN and has to watch a video online over and over again where their loved one was killed! Lord knows I pray I never know their pain and I like others do empathize with them. And please, don’t give me the “I’m so sorry” comment that so many people throw out after yet another killing. Often times the I’m sorry crew include the same people who may be connected to us on social media and ignore their other ignorant friends who post racist, sexist, xenophobic comments but justify it to themselves and others by saying things like “they are just that way.”
Well, I challenge you! Why the heck are they that way and why don’t you have anything to say about it? You’re afraid to lose a friend? Why are ok being a friend to someone like this? I tell my kids no one should be so comfortable with them they can openly disparage people that look like us, act like us, live like us or simply are their friends despite their color or gender. When you sit on the right side of justice, no one should ever be this comfortable around.
If you have racist, prejudice, or offensive friends, the delete button in real life and virtual life work just the same. It’s time for people to stop saying sorry and do something different. Do better! When you claim to stand up for the rights of all people inclusive of all orientations, children, women, disabled and the like, stand up for the rights of black and brown people too as the intersectionality of race and gender matter. Make a change, be the change or you truly are both the problem and threat to those around you. Be there for his family and others like them!!!! And remember, willful ignorance of injustice equals approval of the same.