I called my brother this morning and asked him if I could keep him in a box so I could keep him safe. He didn’t call me crazy. He simply responded, “Roze, if you kept me in a box I couldn’t shine and make a difference.”
Of course he’s right. Two things I appreciate about him: he listens and honors my crazy and he consistently tells me that we cannot let fear and evil win.
My black men are not safe. They’ve never been. Whether it was the historic realities of slavery and Jim Crow and segregation; of lynchings and mob attacks; of the systematic break down of our families and black men’s’ humanity; of the discrimination and systemic racism that kept them from accumulating wealth because of discrimination after they served our country in the military; to the school to prison pipeline, they’ve never been safe.
My home state is an open carry state. This means you can have a gun in public. You can even have a concealed firearm if you have the right paperwork. So this means that the excuse of “He had a gun” becomes null and void.
I am also thinking a lot about civil servants and those who take oaths to serve and protect – police men and women, military folks, doctors, hell even faith leaders. We make vows, take oaths, pledge to live life differently because of the sacred task that we are agreeing to. This means that we are held to a different standard. Period. End of story.
So it’s becoming harder and harder for me to reconcile that those who are tasked with keeping order and de-escalating situations are able to get away with cold blooded murder.
For me it’s never been about not respecting cops and valuing their lives. It’s about having the utmost respect for them and holding them to a higher standard because they signed up to live differently. They also received different training that should be wielded carefully. They have power, great power and we know that with great power comes even greater responsibility.
In the words of Ida B. Wells: “I feel utterly discouraged and just now if it were possible, would gather my race in my arms and fly away with them.”