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December 4, 2014 / Steven Pousty

cameras, riots, and white problems

I really wonder why there isn’t more outrage in my facebook feed about the lack of a trial in the Eric Garner case. My twitter feed, eventhough I try to keep that non-political, is full of discussion, yet on facebook there is a minor smattering. Is it facebook messing with the content of my feed or is it the general focus of my friends?

Either way – the situation right now is insane. I know there are good cops out there – we are not facing a situation where ALL cops are bad.  And, cops do face real danger on the job. This is also not criticizing cops truly acting in self-defense when there life is in eminent danger. And I understand that sometimes that line is fuzzy.

I would also like to point out that race relations in this country have gotten better over time. Not perfect but better. We have reached a place where we can elect a dark skinned president. But just as one warm day in February does not mean spring is here, so to does this great progress mean we have moved past racism in this country.

That said, we can not continue to have a system where our justice system and policing is SO deadly, demoralizing, and biased against black people (well and probably hispanics as well but there is less public footage/outcry of that right now). This has to stop. This is outrageous.

This makes me sad and angry for my friends, their children, for black people I don’t know. Nobody in our country should have to live like this. Sure #AllLivesMatter, but right now we seem to have a problem in this country with understanding that we (our society as a whole) don’t act like #BlackLivesMatter. Until we start acting like #BlackLivesMatter then #AllLivesMatter is false.

This isn’t about breaking the law or not. Just because you break the law doesn’t mean you deserve to die. Breaking the law doesn’t mean your death is not worthy of trial. Breaking the law when you do it with your white friends means ALL of you should face the same penalty. When you commit the same offenses as white people you should expect the same treatment as white people – no more, no less. The death or torture of a black person when interacting with the police should get the same level of concern and prosecution as it does when it happens to a white person.

Sure bad things happen to white people by the police, but we are not even at the stage where we can look at police brutality as a whole. There is such a large body of evidence pointing gross injustice towards black people (and brown and probably low income) that we need to fix that first before we get to focus on the more general topic. There is a large gaping wound in our country and we need to stop the bleeding before we can start treating the more systemic problem.

The events on video and in the media have brought to light things which many of us have known for a long time. For me the hard part is figuring out which action is the most effective in bring about this change so badly needed.

For all you condemning the rioting – especially if you are white – STFU unless you are doing everything in your power to change the abuses first. Really, just be quiet and certainly don’t look to Dr. King as a way to justify your crappy point of view. I am going to quote from an excellent speech by Dr. King where he talks about how rioting is not the best way forward but eminently understandable when white america refuses to hear and change the situation in america.

“Now I wanted to say something about the fact that we have lived over these last two or three summers with agony and we have seen our cities going up in flames. And I would be the first to say that I am still committed to militant, powerful, massive, non­-violence as the most potent weapon in grappling with the problem from a direct action point of view. I’m absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results. But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.”

excerpted from http://www.gphistorical.org/mlk/mlkspeech/

Like Chris Rock says, this is not a black problem, this is a white problem. As I saw written just recently, my white skin privilege is automatic, but sustaining a racist white privilege system is a choice. I need help in figuring out real and effective ways in dismantling this system.

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