non-TTC related the world

I’m going to vent now…and if I lose followers, then it must be so…#NonTTCrelated

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.

The next day, there was another video. This one was live streamed on FB after the shooting. The victim had done nothing wrong. He was pulled for a broken tail light. The guy tells the officer that he had a legally registered weapon in the car and that he was licensed to conceal carry. The officer asked the man to produce license and registration. When he reaches toward his back pocket to pull the wallet that houses this information, he is shot 4 or 5 times, close range with his fiancée’(though media has reported girlfriend) and 4 year old daughter IN THE CAR. Then, the cop says “I told him not to reach for it” and the fiancée calmly says on video “he was reaching for his wallet to get his license just like you asked him to”. She is asked to walk backwards from the car and her phone is thrown to the ground but still records and she is heard wailing as the father of her daughter lies dying, no already dead nearby. Her four year old daughter is the one who comforts her. Guess what happens then…the media can’t find a mug shot. He doesn’t have one. He was a productive citizen doing nothing wrong. He worked at a school as a Nutrition Supervisor.  So media demotes him to a “kitchen worker”. The head of the school, a Caucasian man, gives the most beautiful and touching tribute to this man and his simple statement marks his hurt and disbelief that “gentle Phil” died at the hands of police. That was Thursday. And I emailed my husband at work pouring out a letter of love and protection and fear and the assurances of Christ and felt the lump in my throat when he answered with the same.

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.

Perhaps it was because of an ignorant assumption that because I am a woman of color, I must be secretly accepting of the ambush against Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs).  So instead these persons have defriended or stopped talking to me.  They don’t know that two of my brothers are LEOs, that my godmother is retired LEO, and so is my uncle. They don’t know that my son’s birth father IS LEO. They don’t know that I have lost LEO family members killed IN the line of duty, one just 24 years old.  I am the last person who is accepting of this tragedy.  
That being said, I AM a woman a color and I am troubled by this week’s events and the events that have occurred for weeks, months, and years before.  I am a woman of color who has been spit at and cursed out by other races because of my skin color when all I was doing was walking down the street. I am a woman of color who has been asked to explain my very presence in places deemed “Non-black”.  I’ve been asked to explain why and how I’m a fan of classical music and theater, why I love to read with such voracity.  I have been asked to serve as some kind of pseudo ambassador answering “why black people do” this and that as if I am a poster child for the race.  I am a woman of color who doesn’t understand why compliments have been given to me on my education and my grammar, as if I am an anomaly.  Education and experiences are not the exception in my family, they are the rule.
Yes,  I am a woman of color–a wife.  I am a black wife with a black husband whom I love with all that is within me.  That man makes my heart flip and he is the most sincere man I have ever met.  His love for God is amazing and his compassion for others is breathtaking. This amazing man is a productive, contributing member of society with a wonderful job, and a beautiful soul.  But I readily admit that even before this week’s events I have worried about what would happen if he were stopped by an LEO who is a bit jumpy and has an accelerated adrenaline rush because they are afraid of what could happen.  
It’s a fear that is palpable at time.  It grows when I see my children, especially my son.  My beautiful, intelligent, God-fearing, love-filled son.  This same beautiful baby has already experienced some of the world’s nastiness.  Three weeks after moving into a beautiful diverse neighborhood filled with professionals like myself and my husband, a neighbor’s son told my (at the time) 7 year old son that he couldn’t participate in neighborhood play because he was brown.  My son came in hurt and confused.  I had to comfort him and explain then that there were people in the world who would not like him for no other reason than the tint of his skin.  I had to teach him to hold his head up and keep moving forward anyway.  When no other occurrences were mentioned, S. and I hoped it was an isolated incident (knowing quite well it could be more than that).

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.

-K

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