I have sat down several times to write this post and often find I get far too emotional or I just don’t know where to start. This subject makes me angry, sad, confused and so many other heavy emotions, but I know that I am not the only one feeling them and we need to keep an open dialogue for EVERYONE’s benefit.
Although I am a Canadian citizen, when President Obama was elected I was so thrilled. It was 2009, and the year that I was married, and I thought how wonderful it was. I selfishly thought that I would be able to tell my children that they could be anything that they wanted to be because a black man was elected president before they were even born. Sadly, I feel like with every step forward our society takes, something horrible happens to take us back 10 steps.
Before I go further into this post, for those readers that do not know me I am married to a black man and therefore my two kiddos are bi-racial. To me the colour of their skin does not matter one iota, but I know that in society’s eyes they are seen as black. Before now I was pretty naive about the importance of that.
I grew up upper middle class in a predominantly white neighbourhood and to get straight to the point I have led a very privileged life. For those who do not believe that White Privilege is a real thing, I assure you, it is. I also think that admitting it is a big step in the right direction. I have never been stopped by the police because I “matched the description” of a suspect or pulled over for “driving in the bad lane” What is the bad lane you ask? Ask the cop that pulled over my husband for no apparent reason!
This pulls me in another direction. I remember in elementary school as a young child being taught that if you are ever in trouble the first person you should call/tell/find is a police officer! I’m not sure that this is a lesson I will be instilling in my children’s minds when young black men are being killed by police officers. Rage fills me when I think about what is happening, and I feel hopeless but know that changes need to be made. I cry when I think about these boys parents having to bury them for what seems like nothing more than ignorance and racism from white males in power. Young men are being shot, strangled and MURDERED, yet the men carrying out these crimes are walking free.
As a white woman I am finding it hard to find a place in the fight against racism. Regardless of my husband and children, I know that there is still much room for change and it has to come from everyone. It is so true that #BlackLivesMatter but it is not only a fight for black people. Let’s not forget that in 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr marched on Washington he was joined by different races, ages and sexes.
In order to keep Dr. King’s dream alive we need to be accountable as a society. It isn’t okay for young UNARMED black men to be dying at the hands of the people who are supposed to be keeping them safe. If is not ok that the people who are supposed to be upholding the law are the ones breaking it.
Without coming up with much of a solution here all I can say is although a situation may effect you directly, you still have a voice to speak up. I am hopeful that 2015 will bring education for those in power and forgiveness for those who have lost love ones.