Why Are You Afraid of Us?
A word about my Blackness and your (dis)comfort.
“That looks like a bad dude right there…”
From hundreds of feet in the air, one man was deemed to be dangerous. A beast to be tamed, a mountain to be leveled. Even as he poised no threat, arms raised. I’m sure he feared for his life, knowing that his Blackness was the reason why he could end up on the pavement. And alas, he did. For what appears to be no reason at all. At the hands of those who were sworn to protect him from the ones that he should truly be afraid of.
I’m not supposed to be afraid of police. I’m supposed to breathe a sigh of relief when an officer passes me on the street or a police vehicle drives through my neighborhood. Why? Because it says that “we’re safe”, that “we’re being taken care of”. Safe from harm, cared by those who are best equipped to do so.
I guess the only time we’re safe is when we’re dead. I guess the best care we can receive is when he see God in heaven.
And in these moments, I truly ask “Where are you, God?”
Not because I think we are a God-less people or that God can only solve our problem. But that if we are truly made in his image, why are we so violent? Why do we hurt each other? Why do we not see in the value in human life?
And why some of my brothers and sisters in Christ can’t say to me that “it’s wrong that you are being killed by law enforcement.” or “it’s not okay that you fear for your life.” But yet we can always say to “give it to the Lord” and that “God will provide.”
You are asking for all of us to just “give to the Lord” or follow the way of Jesus but can we acknowledge what we’re giving to the Lord and can we identify the work that has to be done?
There’s nothing wrong with “giving it all to the Lord” except we must fully acknowledge what we’re placing upon His feet.
Why is it that oppressors can speak in generalities but the oppressed can give you specifics? Because we have to live daily with the consequences of those sins that others speak of. We’re often at the receiving end. We catalog them in hopes that others will finally admit that they exist. So when you group police brutality, housing segregation, illegal deportation, failing school systems and income inequality into just “sin”, that’s downright insulting. We know it’s wrong and a moral failure. But do you?
Eradicating sin does not change the fact that people look at me and think that I am a problem to be dealt with. People look at me and think that I do not value myself nor do I deserved to be valued. People look at me and think that I am not capable of love, that I am not capable of care.
That’s a bad person deserving to be declared as such from a helicopter and subsequently murdered in the street.
But then when I speak up to tell you that I matter, when I speak up to tell you that other’s lives deserve to matter, you get uncomfortable. You say it’s “not the right place or the right time to protest.” When is it? When my body is riddled with bullets? When my neighborhood is decrepit? When my school is closed down? When I’m fired for being Black? When I’m not hired for being Black?
I can’t take a knee during a national anthem? I can’t raise my fist? Because that makes you uncomfortable? Because during the sanctuary of your football game, I dared to make you care about another human being’s life?
Can you admit that it makes you comfortable to not talk about these things?
There’s a comfort in throwing it to God instead of doing the work as His people?
There’s a comfort in telling me that there are some good police officers, like that doesn’t erase the fear of thinking that one might kill me?
Because we’ve tried to tell you not to fear us but that doesn’t stop you from killing us? Fear gives no damn about common courtesy.
So why should I assuage you? Why should I make you comfortable?
Frankly, you owe me. So until then, I will make my presence known in spaces you say don’t belong me. My Blackness is here. Adjust yourself.