This past week has been one of the most stressful and anxiety-causing weeks I have ever experienced in my life. The last time my level of anxiety was this prevalent was September 11, 2001.
This week, I watched on video the gunning down of two black men by police officers. In video one, the assailant was pinned on the ground. BOTH of his hands and arms were pinned on the ground. He had NO weapon. A police officer was on top of him. Another beside him. He struggled, but to me, it looked more like the struggle to breathe when someone is sitting on your chest. And then…gunshots. The police, sitting atop this unarmed (as in no weapon in hand) black man, killed him. They shot him dead. The officer who killed him has been involved in several police inquiries of his behavior in the three or five (depending on the media outlet) he has been on the force. He even received a “letter of caution” after failing to obey orders and cause a preventable crash. Yet, he remains on the force. After the man was shot and killed, a gun was recovered from his pocket. He never reached for it. He never brandished it, but there it was. And there he was…dead. Immediately…I mean immediately after it hit the news, so too did a mug shot of this man from 2009. He had one incident that he never should have done, paid his societal dues, and was living life with his wife and five children, and the photo chosen to identify the victim to the world was a mug shot. Never mind that his wife’s then public social media page had more than enough shots of this man and most were with his family. What media chose to show of an unarmed black man shot dead was a mugshot. And tears welled.
Then yesterday morning, I woke up to reports of a killing in Dallas, TX. Minutes later, the reports stated five were dead and there were twelve injured. They were all cops. And I felt the pit of my stomach rebel. Twelve brothers and sisters in blue shot because some jack wipe decided that they wanted to prove a point of violence begetting violence. He was right. It does. These innocent officers were shot and killed providing coverage for a peaceful protest and were ambushed by someone of a different agenda (who despite social opinion was no affiliated with movement or organization protesting). And suddenly with this single act of violence, the whole country is staring at each other differently. No kidding, people who speak to me everyday wouldn’t speak to me at all yesterday.
It wasn’t too long after that news of Trayvon Martin broke and I felt that familiar worry every time my son asked to walk down to the park to play. The week after Trayvon was killed, I was cursed out while grocery shopping by a Caucasian teen because my son was wearing a hoodie, as if the clothing worn for the rain outside was a political statement. As if it would have been his right to curse me if it had. I had to go Mama Bear on some ignorant man-child coming after my child and I for ignorant reasons.
And there are so many other examples, way too many to cite in detail. But they all seemed to culminate in this week. Sigh…With all of the turmoil going on this week, I am tired. Just emotionally exhausted. So, when my son asked if he could go outside and play, I hesitated before saying yes. I didn’t want him to go too far from my sight. I wanted to hold him and protect him and cover him. When he came in this evening with tears in his eyes because the kids in the neighborhood literally ran away from him when he approached and wouldn’t play with him, my heart ached again and I knew I wanted to ask the question of whose children and what responses, but I couldn’t. I can’t be that mom. I just had to build him up and encourage him to go outside and try again somewhere else. I have to trust that he will be covered by God’s grace and protection. I have to trust that the lessons his fathers and I teach him are going to resonate and prayerfully keep him safe–even when his new world may be withdrawal, apprehension, and solitude.
The same goes for when S. walks out the door every afternoon preparing to go to work or to shore up something for the family. I want him home safely. I want to know he’s here. I want him breathing. I know someone reading this will say they want the same for their family, that it isn’t a race thing.
Here’s the thing about that. How many times this week have you tensed up every time you pass a police car even when you know you’re not speeding and are doing nothing wrong? How many times have you walked into your office and walked by certain cubicles and offices just to make sure the roll call still is unbroken? hTat is my truth, my life, and my experience. This week just put all of it on brutal display for the entire world.
So, I’m sorry for those who I’ve offended. Sorry for those who are upset that this isn’t a TTC-related issue, but if you dig deep enough, you’ll see it is. I respect your right to discontinue following this blog. I just ask that you respect my right to want to live, to have my children and my husband live, and for us to do so peacefully and harmoniously–not because we’re black, but because we’re human and it’s what you want for yourselves.
I wish you all the best in the future.
Have a restful evening.