I once had a Twitter argument with someone who – during the Trayvon Martin incident – wrote off my point of view almost immediately because I was just some white girl who didn’t know what it was like to walk around as a black person and fear for my life.
The man had a point, but certainly not the one he was trying to make with me.
According to the latest full-year FBI crime statistics compilation, 2,648 black Americans were murdered in the 2012 calendar year. Here’s the shocker: of the 2,648 black murder victims, 2,412 were murdered by a member of their own race. Just 193 of the killings were perpetrated by a white person. (Incidentally, in the same year, 480 more white Americans were murdered than black Americans.)
Louis Head, stepfather to 18-year-old Michael Brown who was fatally shot by police, holds a sign in Ferguson, Mo., near St. Louis on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. A spokesman with the St. Louis County Police Department, which is investigating the shooting at the request of the local department, confirmed a Ferguson police officer shot the man. The spokesman didn’t give the reason for the shooting. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Huy Mach)
And yet – every time a tragedy occurs – we hear the exact same narrative:
“[Insert name here] has joined a long line of blacks, especially black males, who have recently been gunned down, wrestled down and killed by white men and/or white police officers who claim ‘reasonable fear’ or ‘self-defense’ as their defense.”
I remind you: under 200 of nearly 2,500.
Regardless of the facts, it’s always “whitey’s” fault, and it’s always about race.
L.Z. Granderson – CNN contributor and ESPN commentator – wrote a piece on Tuesday in response to the recent Ferguson, Missouri shooting of a unarmed black teenager by a police officer.
“I am tired of having to march to have murderers arrested,” wrote Granderson, “tired of worrying about my 17-year-old being gunned down by some random white guy who thinks hismusic is too loud. Tired of knowing the same could happen to me.”
Let’s talk candidly for a moment. You know what, Mr. Granderson? Two can play at this game. I’m tired of a few things too.
I’m tired of our streets being peppered with dead black Americans killed in large part by members of their own race. I’m tired of our nation’s police being denied the right to fear for their lives simply because they carry a gun and wear a badge. I’m tired of being told that it’s ALWAYS about race.
Tactical officers fire tear gas on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Authorities in Ferguson used tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse a large crowd Monday night that had gathered at the site of a burned-out convenience store damaged a night earlier, when many businesses in the area were looted. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen)
I’m tired of having to see death threats from those who purportedly want “justice.” I’m tired of worrying that being white is automatically a point against you in the court of public opinion should you find yourself in the throes of a situation like the cop in Ferguson.
I’m tired of seeing internet campaigns calling for MORE violence. I’m tired of hearing that our court system is only considered to have dealt out “justice” when it rules in favor of the black American in question. I’m tired of the assumption that cops are always wrong – and never in any “real” danger.
I’m tired of the arm-chair critics who instantly extend the benefit of the doubt to the black American in the situation, without stopping to consider any culpability on their part, while summarily placing full blame on the cop. I am tired of seeing images of rioting, looting and protests – and not knowing if it’s the Middle East or Midwest.
I am tired of our president and our Department of Justice playing favorites with race. I am tired of the race-baiters like the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who practically salivate at the opportunity to take full advantage of a sad situation. I’m tired of the idea that more wrongs make a right.
I’m tired of the assumption that all cops are racist, power-hungry pigs.
I’m tired of hearing about white privilege like there’s some kind of master plan in place to keep black Americans down.
I’m tired of being told I’m “apathetic” and “don’t understand” just because I don’t happen to be black, and I don’t happen to live in a bad area (anymore). I’m tired of being told that I’m “cloaking my apathy in FBI statistics” by pointing out the facts – that more black Americans are killed by other black Americans than by anyone else. Indeed, I’m tired of the fact that black Americans are killed en masse in cities like Chicago – where not one, but 82 people were shot (14 fatally) in a single day alone – and yet it’s barely on the radar.
I’m tired of black leaders who will blame ME and the rest of “white” America for the problems in the African-American community, and yet refuse to address the epic causes that run rampant.
Most of all, I’m tired of the assumption that every altercation that occurs between a police officer and a black American is definitive proof that it’s all part of some grand racist scheme.
Regardless of what actually happened (and that remains to be seen – as does whether or not so militarized a response is indicative of another problem in our nation), can we please, please just look at this like it is: a sad situation where someone lost their life, and someone else’s life is forever ruined; a situation where due process should be fully allowed to run its course without the dehabilitating cloud of race hanging heavily over it?
To look at it any other way only furthers the very problems we’re all trying to solve.