I wasn't planning to write this post. I wasn't planning to talk about Tamir Rice. I wasn't planning to use my blog as a platform to speak my thoughts on racial justice. But I am tired of other people's ignorance & lack of compassion, & I'm tired of being quiet for the sake of not ruffling feathers among those I love & otherwise respect.
My friend Marchae, a fellow Clevelander, wrote a powerful, painful, personal essay today called "The PTSD of My Blackness." In my Facebook post sharing it with friends & family, I urged: "Please read. Please try to understand. Please try to make change. Please try to be better - for her, for Tamir, for Trayvon, for Eric, for Sandra, for Michael. For humanity."
A high school friend (one who has, in the past, accused me of hating cops, which is bananas as a general statement) was the only one to comment. He asked, "No offense, but a grand jury decided that the officers involved did no wrong doing, what else do you want?"
And he's missing the point entirely.
Here's what I want.
I want innocent Americans to stop being killed, degraded, & disrespected for absolutely no reason other than the color of their skin.
I want Black Americans to feel safe in the country they call home, to feel protected by our police force instead of terrorized by them.
I want Marchae & every single person with skin the color of hers to be able to live life the way I know I am privileged to live mine, without ever stopping to think about whether the cop sitting next to her in a coffee shop is likely to harass her - or worse - at random.
Above all, I want white Americans like my high school friend to really listen to what they're saying & believing & taking at face value. I want them to understand that these are not one-off incidents, that they are representative of a larger societal oppression of & prejudice toward Black Americans as a whole - one that white Americans perpetuate by refusing to acknowledge these truths, by continuing to see each incident, small or large, as individual & unrelated.
Grand jury or not, there is no justice in systematic racism.