This morning I woke up to a happy, healthy son. Well, maybe not so happy. He needed a diaper change and little man does NOT like being wet. But, overall, I have a happy, healthy son. Something I am thankful for every single day.
I worried every day of my pregnancy that he might not be healthy. Not because I was a high risk pregnancy, or because disease runs in our families, but because there is so much that can go astray. So I worried. And now that he is here and healthy, I am grateful.
The news over the last two days however has me thankful for something else, though.
I’m thankful that my happy, healthy son is white*.
I’m thankful for that because it means that I don’t have to worry that he will be walking down the street and end up killed because of his skin color.
And as thankful as I am for that, I am angry.
I’m angry that my black friends and their kids don’t have the luxury of white skin. That they must be fearful everyday that they will be killed because their skin is brown or black.
I’m angry that white people don’t believe that white privelege exists (newsflash: it totally does). I’m angry that white people try to squash an issue they don’t understand by saying #AllLivesMatter.
No fucking shit.
But trying to silence #BlackLivesMatter makes you part of the problem. Yes. All lives matter. But right now, at this time in our society, #BlackLivesMatter needs to be heard and spread.
Because it’s black lives that are being taken at the hands of (predominately) white police officers.
And over the next several weeks we will hear all about Alton Sterling’s past. His criminal record. We’ll hear about Philando Castile. About any poor choices he ever made in his life.
The media will dig into every nook and cranny of their lives trying to paint whatever narrative they have already decided on. This is why I didn’t pursue journalism as a career. It’s disheartening. I know the extent of information left out of stories because I’ve done it. I’ve chosen which angle to take. And I don’t like it.
Because the part of the story we won’t hear about is the officers who killed these men. We are unlikely to hear about their past. Probably won’t hear much about their job performance. Have they been investigated by internal affairs? Had complaints filed against them? We probably won’t know.
And that makes me angry. And sad.
I shouldn’t have to be scared for my black friends. Their kids. Their families. I shouldn’t have to worry about if they are going to make it home safely tonight. But I do.
So, white friends, please, please, please stop with #AllLivesMatter because right now, #BlackLivesMatter is so very important.
*My family is Native American, but our skin color is pretty light. We get the benefit of passing for white.
** In many of these instances the individual killed is white and/or the use of deadly force could be considered warranted as the person killed was armed and/or shot at the officer(s). The number used includes all officer involved shooting deaths as reported and collected by the Washington Post.