And Yet Another Injustice

I spent most of last night replaying this video over and over in my head. I am at once angry, disgusted, and utterly heartbroken. Another black body has been struck down in the street. I mourn with my black brothers and sisters for yet another cruel injustice carried out by representatives of the “justice” system, an injustice (once again) captured on video, an injustice handed out by two law enforcement officers that will probably (once again) be cleared of any charges.

They’ll probably be sent home to enjoy their families and their pensions, an opportunity Alton Sterling will never have again. You can turn your head. You can posit that he was probably a thug or violent offender who received the unfortunate result of his actions. To do so is to ignore the scene playing out right in front of you, a scene that is all too familiar.

But I will not be silent. This is why we shout #blacklivesmatter. This is why we spotlight the white supremacy that still looms over every system in our nation. This is why we tear at the white privilege sewn into the very fabric of this country. It’s not because we don’t think white lives matter. It’s because that has never been in question. I know white privilege first hand, because I experience it every day of my life.

Yes, my father is black. I am mixed. Blackness is a part of my heritage. But the light shade of my skin has afforded me privileges that many of my friends and family do not have. This privilege has been passed on to my children. I will never have to tell them what to do with their hands when — and I said when — they are pulled over by the police for speeding. I won’t have to instruct them on how to walk or what posture to take when an officer passes them in the street. The color of their skin is their greatest defense, and that truth sickens me to my very core.

Racism is alive and well. So far this year, 558 people (of different races) have been killed by the police. Black people are nine times as likely to die at the hands of these officers than people of any other race. Please don’t look away. Please don’t be dismissive. If we really believe that all lives matter, shouldn’t we do everything we can to make sure that every life is on equal footing?

I am white. I am black. I don’t value one race above another. And I stand with my brothers and sisters of all races who champion equality. But as a nation, statistically and historically speaking, the equality many of us believe we have as a result of the civil rights movement is a myth. I’m not OK with that. Are you?