About Last Night…

If you don’t know what happened last night, catch up here.

Learn about what a grand jury is here.

fergsign(photo via Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images)

Last night, I was so numb after all was said and done. And I was frustrated. SO FRUSTRATED.

This blog is a complete stream of consciousness, so it may not make sense. And this blog will be long. I don’t apologize for it.

First, if you’re reading this and you’re white, please know that I truly mean no ill-will against you, especially if I know you personally (even if I haven’t talked to in a long time). And for clarification, it’s important to know that I’m talking about “some” people, not “all”.

This country needs to get it together. When it comes to race relations, we need serious change. And protesting and subsequent rioting is not going to bring about serious change. It can spark new thoughts and opinions, but it will not begin serious change. See, when it comes to how people view one another, those views run deep. DEEP. I think we are so used to our normal day-to-day lives, that we don’t understand how deep those feelings go. People need to understand that these views that SOME people have, go WAY back. In some cases, those views go back to when they were kids. And those thoughts and feelings just continued to grow over time. How did they grow? Well, they grew in a number of ways, but mainly they grew from inside the home. It’s possible that some people’s views of Black people began later in age, but for the most part, it starts very young. And I’m sure some white people don’t even realize it, but there are certainly some that do, which is very unfortunate.

I spoke about this before, but I need to speak about it again. Education is the KEY to breaking this neverending cycle where some white people think ALL Black people are LESS THAN. To think that someone is LESS THAN someone else because of their skin is LEARNED behavior. Children don’t automatically assume someone isn’t the same as them. A white kid sees a Black kid. That white kid says, oh that’s another kid, I’m going to go play with them. That’s what kids see first. Another kid. It’s only when that kid is TAUGHT otherwise, that they see a difference. (Am I a child psychologist? Nope, but I took a class. So I know a thing or two. Plus, I read books and stuff.) 🙂

And when you learn something like that over and over again, how do you change that behavior? Can you change them? I think you can change that behavior, but it takes time. 

The police in Ferguson have a job to protect and serve the citizens of Ferguson. They know this very well. From what I see, there are clearly some officers that have had thoughts and opinions embedded in their minds about a group of people. Again, it probably started young, but for some, perhaps they learned it later in age. But when you have a group of mainly white officers, thinking a certain way about Black people, you’re going to have a problem. Honestly, this extends to every single law enforcement agency. When SOME people think they know that a particular group is bad, are thugs, etc, etc, you will have a problem anywhere in this country. If you’ve been following the news, then you’ve seen it. Time and time again, we’ve seen young Black lives ENDED because some white police officers THINK they already know what these young men and women are capable of, all based on the color of their skin. How tragic is that!?

Every time I hear a situation where a Black person is gunned down by a white police officer, I’m tired of wondering if it was justified. I’m TIRED. Look, police officers are out there, risking their lives every day. They are out there, trying to keep city streets safe. And in doing so, they take measures to protect themselves first and foremost because at the end of the day, they want to go back home to their families. But since when, does the police operate in such a manner where their first thought is to open fire on an assailant? I think I’ve seen better police work on TV! I’m not going to get into this because I’m not a police officer and I don’t know the training they endure. I do know, that if you look at recent incidents that involve white people, those people were arrested (if possible). Look at any mass shooting that involved a white shooter. If the shooter didn’t kill himself first, the police apprehended the suspect. Read about it. It’s out there.

I’m not saying every Black person is innocent. There are many that are out there doing wrong. Just like there are many white people doing wrong. Yes, people of all races commit crimes. Yes, some more than others. I know the statistics and they infuriate me. I know there are some Black people out there in tough situations, but it never justifies committing a crime. But there are some people out there, mainly Black men, that are MORE LIKELY to be accused of a crime because of someone’s preconceived notion of them. And how is that fair? How is that just? What if you were arrested because someone perceived you to be a criminal because of the color of your skin? This has been happening since Black people were freed from slavery! Will we ever escape it? Will we truly ever be free? It feels like we will never be free if the majority insists that we are ALWAYS up to no good. Thinking about that pisses me off.

I’ve told you the story … maybe I haven’t… of the times where I would go into my local beauty supply store and the owner watches me like a hawk. I’m not being paranoid. This man will STOP what he’s doing to watch me. I’ve seen it time and time again. Oh, did I mention he has metal detectors!? He doesn’t have to watch me, yet he does anyway. What the hell is that about? Oh, I’ll tell you what that’s about later.

As a Black person, I’m tired of caring about how I’m perceived to other people. I’m tired of caring about being judged based on stereotypes or the things that people see on TV. Stereotypes always have a bit of truth behind them, sure, but to assume that EVERY person in a group embodies that trait(s) is beyond ridiculous. Don’t we know better? Are we not smart enough to know that not ALL Black people are thugs, steal, are poor/on welfare, are lazy, are uneducated, etc, etc. Same goes for any other stereotype for any other person of color. Are we not smart enough to know that not ALL Black men “fit the description”? I know plenty of stereotypes about white people, but I’m not an idiot. It’s funny because I have friends of all ethnic backgrounds and NONE of them fit ANY of the stereotypes ever mentioned. NONE!

So what is going on? Why are we, in 2014, STILL accepting stereotypes and deep-seeded thoughts as fact? It takes time, but learned behavior and attitudes can be unlearned. For our future generations, they need to learn now that not every Black person is bad. I say this all the time, we NEED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH OTHER. Especially those of you that do not have friends of color. I read an article several months back that gathered information stating that white people tend to NOT have friends of other races. I believe it. I have many white friends and acquaintances from high school. If you’re reading this, you better believe I snooped through your friends list on Facebook. No shame in my game. I was curious. I went to a pre-dominantly white high school and wondered who had friends of color. To my NOT surprise, many of them had very few to ZERO friends of color. THAT IS SAD!!! And I’m not saying that you HAVE to have friends of color, but I think of all of the things you miss out on by not having friends of color.

I don’t want to make this into a Black/white thing, but because Black people in this country tend to be viewed more negatively than other ethnicities, I have to put it in terms of Black and white. Essentially, what would our country be like, if more white people had Black friends? What would it do for our overall general perception of Black people? You know what it would do? You would have more people realizing that while there are some bad seeds in the bunch, not all Black people are bad, uneducated, lazy, etc, etc. And the more white people know that, the better off we would be. Think about it. The more you really know someone or some thing, the more likely you are to dispel stereotypes or other preconceived notions for yourself and to others.

I had so much more to say, but I’ll end by saying this:

If you’re white and you’re reading this with an open-mind, understand that a lot of the change that can come about in this country can start with people like you. For decades, Black people have been struggling to help others see that we are not all alike. I don’t know if that fight is up to us any longer. It’s time for others to start helping us fight this battle. If you KNOW in your heart and soul that there are obviously wonderful people of color out there, then start sharing it with your friends who don’t know or don’t understand. Because if you read anything on social media, it is CLEAR, there are many people that don’t understand the problem that continues to exist today with regard to race in this country.

Please know that:

1. MANY Black people have families that we love and support.

2. MANY Black people work hard to support themselves.

3. MANY Black people are educated and/or want to be educated (I have two degrees and ALL of my Black friends have multiple degrees!!!)

4. MANY Black people want to live in safe neighborhoods and send their children to excellent schools.

5. MANY, MANY Black people DO NOT WANT A HAND-OUT! There are so many that want to work hard and earn everything…..

just like white people. Just like everyone else living in this country.

I’ll end (for real this time) by saying, let’s pray for the Brown family and for Ferguson. I pray things get better and not worse in their city. I pray that one day, we can truly come to grips that there is a need to try and overcome this racial divide. We have got to start working towards solutions, for the sake of those that will come after us.

*steps down from my soapbox and sits on it until the next time*

-t

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