WHEW…what a time (especially to be a Black American)!
Without a doubt, this has been one of the most exhausting, overwhelming seasons I’ve ever walked through. Between COVID-19 and the loss of my uncle, my struggle to stay engaged / motivated at work, and the recorded incidents of police brutality and racially charged crimes from across the country I haven’t been doing well.
Once again, I’m forced to recognize that my race is inescapably tied to my sense of safety (or lack of). I’m reminded that I have good reason to be uncomfortable when I spot a police car while walking my neighborhood. Right now, my guard is up in advance of every opportunity for “small talk” on my work calls. And I’m overwhelmed by the pressure to post the “right things” on social media.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the final moments of George Floyd’s life these past few days. About how dehumanizing that 8 minutes and 46 seconds was. How his life and dignity were devalued because of a suspected counterfeit $20 bill. How his skin color posed so much of a “threat” that anything he’d done, achieved, or experienced before that moment didn’t matter.
And I’ve been thinking of my husband (and my dad, uncles, cousins, and black male friends…), and how little someone would know about him at first glance. How the things that make him HIM are lost to those who only see his blackness. How being judged by how he looks not only acts to diminish who he is, what he cares about, and the story he has to share…but can also be a threat to his life.
Y’all, this isn’t just a police problem, it’s a cultural problem.
8 minutes and 46 seconds isn’t enough time to know a person’s story. Shoot, after 8 minutes of talking with an introvert like Dazell, there’s a lot you won’t know. Like the fact that he think Hercules has the best Disney soundtrack. That he’s a history buff and Christian hip hop melophile. That he has a HUGE sweet tooth and is a love of Starbucks’ secret menu. Or that his dad is his best friend.
Y’all, this isn’t just a police problem, it’s a culture problem. And until being an unknown Black American isn’t synonymous with being a threat, our fight for equality continues.