This morning started like any other morning. I woke up a husband, and at 5 a.m. I helped my lovely wife get prepared for work by making her a fresh pot of coffee and packing her lunch…only for her to tell me she already has other plans for lunch. Oh well, I suppose. Then we kiss, short and sweet (I still had morning breath), and off she goes. Not a minute after she leaves, my youngest wakes up eager to be rescued from the dark of the room that she is now painfully aware of. I oblige. We pick an outfit from the weekly rotation and get dressed, then I carry her to the living room where she is sure to nod back off for a few. Next, I am on to my oldest, who is less than enthused about having to wake up at 6 a.m. for another long day of school. Nevertheless, after a little pandering and a few tickles she rises for the day and begins to get herself ready. All that is left is me. I made the girls and myself a hot breakfast. Nothing fancy just the regular, scrambled eggs and turkey bacon. As I started to eat I took a quick look at Facebook, and then I saw IT. I saw it again…and again, until I was reminded that in addition to being a husband and father…I was also BLACK.
You see, at no point during my morning routine did that thought cross my mind. That is until I watched yet another African-American man murdered at the hands of a police officer who at the very least, after watching the video, is of questionable decision making capacity. I say that not as an indictment against that officer’s character or moral compass, but as an objective evaluation of what took place.
There were so many feelings rushing in to try and sort out.
First, there was sadness. Sadness because I watched Terence Crutcher as he walked hands up (sans weapon) to his vehicle while posing NO immediate threat to the several officers facing him down. Sadness because despite KNOWING all eyes were watching, i.e helicopter cam and dash cam, the officer still CHOSE to use lethal force. Sadness because right after I saw this I read that he was father, like me, and more importantly he was a human being, like me, but none of that mattered in those few moments.
When the sadness passed I became angry. Angry because I listened to the things behind said about him before he was gunned down. Angry because despite the video showing him being killed execution style, the officer responsible for his death was still placed on PAID administrative leave. Angry simply because it happened AGAIN, yet those in public office continue to promise reformation and revision of existing policy and procedure. Angry because I know the corporate media machine is ready to play it over and over and have “debates” about “racial tension”. Not because the news anchors or their executives necessarily care about these issues, but because talking about it every hour helps ratings and feeds the confusion and hysteria that perpetuates hate and racism.
As I started to calm down, I became confused. Confused because I know that every white person does not see every non-white as a “bad guy (or girl)”. Confused because I know not every police officer thinks that either. Confused because in my everyday life I do not think that I encounter people with racially-motivated biases, either explicit or implicit, and because of that I do not understand how it keeps happening to other people of non-white communities. Confused because I believe all of us, as human beings, have the capacity to be truly extraordinary and treat each other with respect in spite of our differences.
Finally, to some degree I feel helpless. Helpless to do something large enough to help my people. Helpless to bridge the gap of ignorance and misunderstanding that continues to dominate so much of our reality. Helpless because IT happened again and I do not think we are any closer to the solution than we were the last time IT happened.
It does not have to be this way. It should not be this way. It cannot continue to be this way. We must all stand for justice and for what is morally sound. I am only comforted by this quote by the honorable Desmond Tutu because I believe one day it will ring true for all of us…“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”