She Called Him “Sir”

Erica Hanna
Jul 8, 2016 · 2 min read

She called him “sir.” The man who shot her boyfriend, in front of her daughter 4 times without being provoked. She called him “sir.” The man who has caused trauma for life. Flashbacks. Panic attacks until death. HE caused that.

She called him “sir.” Because she knew if she was hostile, she could be next. Hell, she knew if she was peaceful like Philando was…she could be next, too.

She called him “sir.” The man who took away the human being who held her heart. She called him “sir”, even as she was being pushed to the ground and put into handcuffs after witnessing the murder of her love. She called him “sir”…knowing full well, that her baby girl was steps away, and could soon be an orphan if she called him anything BUT.

screenshot of unicorn riots livestream immediately following the event

I would never call him “sir.” Because my skin is a privilege that allows me that luxury. And today, I will call him murderer…because that’s what he is. A murderer donning the uniform that vowed to serve and protect ME. Not her. He didn’t protect her. He took from her.

The badge terrifies her…so much, that she calls the man who took away the life of the man sitting next to her, “Sir” and doesn’t have the luxury of being emotional, until she’s far away from the sight of his gun…being comforted by her little girl, who even at the age of 4, is taught to “calm down”.

The last time I checked, showing emotion was no reason to be shot. Yet, we teach black humans that. “Calm down.” Her internal dialog said. You can feel it in her voice. The shock, the outrage, that wanted to escape so badly…to scream and hate him. Instead…her conditioning, her systemic fear, reminded her to call him “Sir.”

She called a murderer “Sir” to save the life of her baby girl… From the man sworn to protect her. She called him… “Sir.”


ps. please note: the first line “she called him sir” was something I saw in passing on twitter, and I’m not sure who wrote it — I would like to give appropriate attribution if possible. Thank you.

Erica Hanna

Written by

Emmy-award winning Producer/Director #TweetNMeet moderator. Owner: | Speaker. Rainbow Puker. @charitywater pal