I watched the full, unedited video of Sandra Bland's arrest and I cried. I was so angry, so full of rage, so devastated because I saw that everything that was happening to her was so wrong, so out of line, and so unfair.
Ms. Bland "failed to signal," "refused to put out her cigarette," was threatened with physical violence, treated violently, and is now dead under extremely questionable circumstances. But truly, my heart, my feelings, they're nothing compared to what her family is feeling. What her community is feeling.
I have this sense of rage, when I read the comments of my white peers who share posts on Facebook that explain how to behave when interacting with police officers. They're claiming that people who are being oppressed need to adhere to a certain, how would you say, pattern of behavior in order to deserve support on this issue.
Are you kidding me?
I’m sorry, but just to be clear, you’re saying that certain black people deserve to be beaten and murdered by the police because they aren’t “polite enough?”
Victim blaming is alive and well.
Yes, I’m a white woman, but this isn’t a post directed at the black community. This is a post directed at my white friends and acquaintances who believe that their opinions are valid.
I want to be, we need to be, the chorus to the voices that matter. I don’t have anything important to say, I don’t believe that I speak for the community or about their issue. That is not my place, and when white people try to talk over people of color on this issue we become adversaries, not allies.
(That tickle of rage you're feeling at being told that your voice doesn't matter? That's your privilege acting up, the belief that you have some inherent right to be heard.)
But I can speak to the white people I know, those who believe that they somehow understand this issue better that those that it directly effects. Those who believe that they are in a position to explain how the system works and how communities that are targeted for violence by the police should handle the problem.
Excuse me, but please: shut the fuck up.
Shut up and read.
Read Tania Richard's blog about what it feels like to be a black woman:
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