Dear White America

Your disgusting disregard for innocent human lives and the lives of their friends and family is everything that is wrong with this country. Please stop telling murdered black people what they should’ve done to the keep their lives. Unless of course, you are going to be honest and tell them that they should’ve just not been born black in a racist America. If you can acknowledge that racism exists, why is it so hard for you to accept that a police officer can be racist? I know you see the videos of Donald Trump supporters spouting the N-word and wishing to rid the country of black Americans. I know you do. And you can say that those awful people represent a small percentage of our population. Fine. It’s bigger than you think, but fine. In a population of some 360 million, even a small percentage is a whole fucking lot of people. Racists are school teachers. They are sales people. Dentists. They are bartenders. Real estate moguls. They are congressmen and women. Mayors. Pastors. They are retirees. They are presidents. Racists are every damn job and walk of life. So, yes, they are cops. The sooner you accept this, the sooner we can deal with systemic racism in a powerful, dismantling way. And the sooner you’ll get to stop telling the innocent deceased how they could’ve avoided being unjustly murdered.

So next time (probably next week) an innocent black person is killed by the police, don’t shrug and say, “welp, that’s what they get for not complying with everything the police told them to do for those seventeen seconds.” You should instead question why the police continue to escalate situations to this sickening degree. Realize that not complying with orders when you’ve done absolutely nothing that would get you put on death row in a court of law is not an acceptable reason to be shot to death. I’ve known cops personally all my life. Friends. Family. They all say they are trained to “shoot to kill.” What? Why not shoot to disarm? Shoot to subdue? Hell, even the military has rules of engagement and escalation of force cards that many carry on them at all times. They are taught to exhaust several steps of warnings before killing. So why the hell are our police officers so quick to murder? Why are people so quick to excuse the police behavior because, “well, he should’ve just done what he was told?”

Donald Trump was just asked how he would combat black on black crime in America. He quickly said he would expand a “stop and frisk” for black people. Yep. He wants the police to be able to walk up to any black person and unlawfully search them. Can you imagine that? A cop coming up to you wanting to feel you up for no reason other than you are of a certain skin-tone? You question it. You deny them. And white America will simply shrug when the police kill you for “non-compliance.”

We all have rights in this country. The right to protest. The right to read a book. The right to drive a car (even if it breaks down). The right to make a lane change without signaling. The right to carry a toy gun. The right to reach for our driver’s license. The right to kneel. The right to run. The right to a fair trial.

And most importantly, we have the right to live.