I’m Listening. Are You?

Comments on the essay I posted yesterday, “White People: It’s Time to Change,” have been pouring in on Facebook, and let me tell you, the stories are heartbreaking and enraging. We need to read these stories, truly hear these stories, and not dismiss them as one person’s experience but understand that this happens to ALL people of color, that in the United States of America, aka “the land of the free,” this is what it’s like to be black, and that race-based police brutality often extends to Latinos, Middle Easterners, and anyone who is simply darker than “white.”

Do you, white friends, worry that whenever your family members leave the house, chances are great that they won’t come back because a police officer killed them?

Calista1

This mother’s comments sparked a string of replies about how black parents and teachers “coach” their children in how to behave around cops yet still worry for their lives:

Replies

Do you, white mom and dad, tell your young son that on his way to school, he needs to fear for his life? Do you, white people, consider that the way you interact with cops would end in gunfire if you were black?

Collis

“Death defying.” This man is not being dramatic. These people are not lying. This is their daily reality because of the color of their skin.

Still not convinced? Here’s a firsthand account from a Latino man about his encounter with violent cops and how deeply it hurt him:

Mauricio

People of color have “been conditioned” to believe that when a cop kills their children or turns their safety into a joke, it is NORMAL. This is unacceptable. Our police officers are supposed to protect us, to make our neighborhoods safer, and instead they are killing our people, our fellow American citizens, and we white folk are sitting comfortably in our safe homes pretending like white privilege doesn’t exist. It’s time to get real. It will and it should feel uncomfortable to confront this, but we HAVE to. Recognize your own prejudices. Become aware of your racist thoughts and behaviors and change them. Smile at people of color. Ask for their names. Listen to their stories. Tell them you are sorry on behalf of this country and give them your love and support. Call your mayor’s office and demand police reform. Do whatever you can because it is not okay to idly sit by and let this happen. It is time to act now.

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