An Ally’s Stance Against Racism

Some of my facebook friends of color have been posting statuses voicing their disgust towards the decisions not to indict both Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo.  The news about the separate cases have come out less than a month apart, deepening a very raw wound for many people.  As I read through these posts, I am initially overcome with guilt.  I think about my privilege as a white person in America.  I am a woman, but the breadth of oppression I face is no where near that of a person of color in America.  Part of my privilege is that I don’t think about these extrajudicial killings like black people have since racism took root during the times of slavery.  Jean Toomer writes about what it’s like as a black man in the south to know that death looms over you in Cane.  
That as long as a person’s skin pigmentation is just “wrong” enough according to racist white people, the possibility of murder is always there.  As a white person, this pattern of violence committed by racist white people is not a reality for me.  Unlike the mothers, fathers, sisters, friends of young black and brown men and women, unlike the young black and brown men and women themselves, this violence is not my reality.  That is privilege.  I feel inclined to post something on facebook, availing myself as an ally, but this guilt that comes with the knowledge of my privilege makes me self-conscious so that I don’t write.

After guilt, I feel anger.  This is fucked up.  No, like really fucked up.  These two men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner are just two men of so many who are targeted because of the fucking color of their skin.  How deep is this systematic and institutional racism that two human beings took, stole two other human being’s lives from them because they’re black.  Darren Wilson- he was a child! Michael Brown wasn’t the hulk like you so eloquently compared him to.  Yes, he was over six feet, so are you.  You’re a killer cop.  According to a recent study, a black person is killed every 28 hours by someone in the law enforcement (“1 Black Man Is Killed Every 28 Hours by Police or Vigilantes: America Is Perpetually at War with Its Own People”). Someone’s life is ended every 28 hours for no good reason.

After anger I feel the need for action.  I was reminded yesterday- this is not about me.  I am an ally, and if I were to make a post on facebook, it should be lending my voice to the cause.  I am a microphone and I will lend myself to the cause so long as it fights to end racist policing and brutality.  As Mr. Cooke said, A change is gonna come.  Change takes time, but with enough people letting their voices cry out, with enough people lending their voice as a microphone to echo the cries, the change will come.  I know this is not about me, but I cannot take myself out of the equation, for as long as I am, I am me.  I feel proud to be an ally.  To be a part of the change, to have thoughts and feelings about what is going on in this sometimes fucked up place we call home.

I have a thought about giving cameras to police officers.  The visibility of the crimes police officers commit is not the issue here.  We see this with Eric Garner’s case.  The entirety of his murder is on camera, yet the killer, Daniel Pantaleo walks away without repercussions.  The recent case of Michael Brown had some ambiguities to it including conflicting witness statements.  Maybe a camera would take the ambiguity away, but I argue his killer would still not be indicted.  The decision not to indict these two cops shows that visibility of racist policing is not the issue.  The issue is that there is racist policing.  Police departments need to stop hiring racist fucking people, and there won’t be racist people holding guns, patrolling the streets.  In addition to highlighting the limitations of cameras on police officer, there needs to be a thorough recognition of the institutional and systemic racism that plagues our society.


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