I’m a white mom with an adopted son from Haiti who has a language processing issue so I’m not going to lie and say I’m not concerned or even scared for the day my son ever has to deal with the police for any reason because I’m afraid his delay in responding or acting appropriately could cost him his life, HOWEVER, that fear will not override my overwhelming respect for Police officers as a whole. I will also continue to teach my kids, all of them, that there police are there to serve, protect us, help us all in our time of need and to make sure they stay buckled up in the back seat.
I hate what I have to see in the news every day when in comes to racial issues or crime in general. It’s a rough world we live in and it’s only getting worse. Because of that I have to fear a lot of things for ALL my kids, not just my black son. When it comes to the police though I can instill in my kids, including my black son, a healthy respect for the laws and how to respond when being confronted by an officer.
Yes, I see that in the past 2 days, 2 black men appear to unnecessarily have been killed by the police. In both incidences the men had guns. Alton Sterling was on the ground and according to police was reaching for the gun in his pocket as a second video is now showing. We didn't see that in the first viral video of him being shot and we don't know exactly what the police were able to see or were experiencing on the ground and maybe they absolutely just shot that man but I can tell you if that's the case THEY DO NOT REPRESENT ALL police officers.
Philander Castile also had a gun and according to his fiancé he let the officer know and was just reaching for his ID when he was shot. However, when officers know someone has a gun and their ID on them they typically, white or black, are put on high alert. In this article by James Tarr, a former police officer, he discusses quite a few incidences he has had with current police when being pulled over and alerting them that he has a weapon on him and he was a former officer! There is a fear issue with any officer when they are dealing with someone who is armed and it doesn't matter if that person is black or white or even a former police officer themselves. There is a procedure if an officer does have a concern for their safety they may will ask the person to stand up outside the car so the officer can access the gun and/or the ID. When someone is reaching into their pocket, especially their back pocket, warned or not of a gun, there is a chance that person will pull the gun out and shoot an officer ESPECIALLY when there was already racial tension between the black community and the police. If the officer told Philander to stop reaching for his ID, whether Philander meant to be disrespectful or not, and he kept reaching for it then officer shot in fear. We don’t see that part in the video so we aren't sure what happened yet but so many are now acting in fear and hate towards all officers and it’s wrong and we are sending the wrong message to our young people and children who are watching and listening.
I know that racism is real (I’m not debating that) and that due to upbringing or personal experiences or demographics or crime statistics that it’s hard not to have some type of opinion about every race or group of people in America at this time but we can’t continue doing is making everything an “All or Nothing” or a “Black and White” situation. It’s not all like that. Just as we can’t say that every black man is a criminal we cannot lump all officers into a trigger happy murderer pot. It’s not fair to either side and it isn’t helping anyone. I personally don’t know what it’s like to live as a black man or as a police officer but I know that both are becoming increasingly more and more dangerous. Statistically speaking black boys are losing their lives far more to their circumstances and environment than to the police. Where are the riots over that? Why aren’t the snipers out shooting gang leaders and drug lords in the neighborhoods where men shoot their unsuspecting victims daily or get them so hooked on drugs that their lives spin out of control leading to their incarceration or death instead of shooting at the police who 99.9 to 1 are not the problem.
I rarely like to speak up unless I have a solution to a problem but this is an issue that is far out of my reach. What I can do though is NOT jump on the “All police are racists and just want to shoot black people” bandwagon and make sure that I teach my kids to continue to respect the law and the officers put in place to enforce the law. I have to pray for all my kids, but especially my very dark skinned son, and their futures but as much as I pray for his safety in the event that he ever has to have a negative interaction with the law, I pray MORE for the exposure he gets from his peers and what impact they will have on his future and life because they are far more of a threat to him and he runs a greater risk of being killed by his peers or while involved in activities with them than he ever will with the police.
I didn’t just read the Stanford rape victim’s letter. I felt IT. I remembered IT. Then I remembered that I am not IT and IT no longer controls me like IT used to. I prayed for that young woman and her heart and mind as she goes through the myriad of emotions that IT creates. My heart hurts for her because I know she not only has to deal with the immense and intense emotions that will affect every fiber of who she is and what she does but then has to face the barrage of wanna-be prosecutors who sit behind keyboards with their opinions of who she is, what she did and how she should feel, deal or heal.
I’ve read tons of blogs and news articles with various views on the rapist, the victim and even those who have written about it. I’ve been quite on the blog front lately but there are several things about what I’m consistently reading that just get to me. The judgments, the fact that she’s had to relive the pain over and over and continues to as the media revels in the attention this is getting in addition to the downplaying of the serious pain and struggle she will face possibly for the rest of her life prompt me to speak up.
I know I am not alone. She is not alone. Neither are the 1 in 4 females who are sexually assaulted in their life times. IT happens every day to girls and women across the country and the world. IT doesn’t care what you think about what you would or wouldn’t do. IT doesn’t care if you think someone should just “get over it” and move on. Unless you understand IT stopping judging those who do. Try to understand how deeply this can wound a heart and soul and put some of the energy you have judging into supporting, encouraging and building up girls around you because you can’t live your life without knowing someone affected with this often hidden pain.
These are the poems I wrote early on in my pain as a high school and college student trying to cope in a world where we didn’t speak of IT. It’s been almost 20 years that I’ve been healing. Though I will always have reminders of what happened to me I know that I am NOT what happened to me. I’ve chosen not to let my life experiences be in vain and I’ve found purpose in my pain by sharing my story and my healing. I hope these poems help those in their own healing have hope that the process of healing happens and it can get better. I also hope those of you who don’t have a clue how IT can feel please read and try to grasp the enormity of the weight and burden IT creates in the lives of those it touches and then do something productive with that knowledge or empathy. Please…..
I'm a Gypsy soul, with an Entrepreneurial spirit and compassionate heart. I believe passionate people inspire people and that we all should be chasing our passions in life. I help others do that through helping others figure out how to LIVE life, LOVE more and LEARN as they GO explore.
Having taught ASL and Entrepreneurship both in the classroom and online to high school students for the past 12 years, I have a heart of teenagers and helping them succeed.
I also love encouraging closet gypsy souls who are afraid to just chase their dreams and be true to the real person they are who's been locked away inside because of fear.
I can't help but help!