I’m tired. I’m angry. I’m tired of being angry.
I’m tired of black men being murdered. I’m tired of the society we live in, sending the message that it’s acceptable to gun black men down or take a knee on their necks until they can’t breathe without consequence. In broad daylight. On camera.
I’m tired of black folks — black men, in particular, not being able to do normal things without arousing suspicion or being threatening. We can’t jog. We can’t birdwatch. We can’t get pulled over with a broken tail light. We can’t kneel on the sidelines. We can’t use our platforms to stand up to indignation, injustice, and racism.
I’m tired of being afraid for my 12-year-old, who 5’ 8.5” and wears a size 13 shoe. I’m tired of being afraid that he’s past his cute and non-threatening phase, and for the rest of his life he has to tread carefully with a target painted on his back. I’m tired of parents of black and other children of color, having to teach our kids a crash course in ‘how not to get murdered for just being‘. I’m tired of us have to teach our kids how to interact with police and others, so they arrive home alive.
I’m tired of other folks, of a certain privilege being praised for speaking up and being assertive — but when we do it, we’re aggressive. Scary. Mean. Threatening. Angry.
You’re damn right we’re angry. We’re angry because we’re tired of being targeted. We don’t want special treatment. We just want to be left alone. We just want to raise our families, live a good life, and mind our damn business.
I’m tired of worrying about my sons, and the fatality of their presence rubbing someone the wrong way when their dad and I aren’t there to protect him. I’m tired of worrying that things might be worse when my three-year-old is bigger — but most of all, I’m REALLY FUCKING TIRED of our society sending the message to our little boys and men of color, that it’s okay and that there are no consequences for people of a certain “privilege” to murder them in cold blood.
My husband, who is a white man and has never had to worry about being targeted — now has the task of raising children who identify as multicultural, but will undoubtedly be seen by the world as black, and will not be afforded his privilege. Imagine how eye-opening it is for him to have to teach his sons how not to be murdered when he’s never in 38 years — carried the weight, fear, or responsibility of the thought for himself.
My in-laws — they don’t sit around and quietly nod in disagreement with what’s going on. They have aligned their lives to the reality that there is no equality for people of color, and that their family, and all people of color need their voices, and their action. Every time an injustice happens to a person of color, they get angry like it’s one of us. While they might not understand the black experience, they are not shy about being allies.
Now, imagine if all parents of white kids had to educate their kids on how to not be murdered, for making other people uncomfortable, based solely on the color of their skin. Would police officers think twice about senselessly killing white boys and men? Would there be more public outrage? More importantly, would justice be served, forcing the law and society to actually make a change? I’d be willing to bet my life that the answer to all those questions is YES. Don’t misunderstand me and think that I’m saying all white people are the problem, but the black community needs them to become allies and be part of the solution.
How to Become an Ally to the Black Community
1 Get Angry
If you haven’t watched any of the many videos of black men being murdered at the hands of law enforcement or folks taking the law into their own hands over the last few years — please do. If you haven’t seen the video of the black man in Central Park, being threatened with a white woman giving false statements to the police — please do. It’s not pleasant, but I dare you to watch these videos and not be enraged.
2 Speak Up
If you see something, say something. It’s not enough to be disgusted by injustice. Allies need to speak up in public forums, protest with us, kneel with us, write letters to your elected officials, and demand justice. Have the guts to stand up and say, “THIS IS WRONG” to anybody, anywhere. When we say ‘Black Lives Matter’, it doesn’t mean that black lives are more important — it means that other lives are already valued in our society, and our needs to be valued too.
While we’re on the subject of elected officials — make them earn your votes. Take them to task about racial injustice, law enforcement accountability, justice system reform, and general disproportionate treatment of people of color.
4 Don’t Be Racist
I don’t really know what more needs to be said about this, but be a good human. Be nice to people. Don’t be an asshole.