It Still Matters
I've been doing a lot of slow and steady research.
The American system punishes and sensationalizes black people as criminals, picks fights with them over nothing and throws them in jail, which starts an uphill battle for basic human rights from which there is almost no escape. Facial recognition tech is biased in favor of white people, which means more wrongful arrests of people of color.
These are human beings we’re talking about.
A thought clicked for me today: the real nail in the coffin is people, privileged by the system, perpetuating this horrible cycle by sitting back and saying things like: “they shouldn’t have been doing anything illegal”, and “he/she was a trouble maker”, or “they should have more respect for the cops”. I've seen these very sentiments on the seemingly harmless Facebook stories of hometown friends, and struggled with what to say. They aren't "bad" people. They are just misled by a system designed to mislead. We can ALL do better.
Just think, for a minute, if it was YOU. And you could be thrown in jail or murdered without consequence for some minor infraction, like speeding, or writing a bounced check, or literally just being outside and “looking suspicious” subjectively. What if the system was designed to screw you and all your relatives over, no matter what you did or how you behaved? How would YOU speak to the cops? With fear? With defeat? With all the pent up aggression of lifetimes of injustice?
The point is: DON’T underestimate the impact of YOU seeing Black youth, Black men and women, Black trans people, Black homeless, and Black prisoners as HUMAN BEINGS FIRST. When you stand up for Black individuals, you set a better example for your family members, your community, and your local police officers. Our job as privileged people is to work to see, hear and lift up our Black neighbors, Black friends, Black coworkers, and the underserved Black people in front of us every day, and that starts with recognizing Black people as human beings, not ‘trouble makers’. Anyone can 'get into trouble' under crappy circumstances. It’s time to help our Black brothers and sisters get OUT of it.
(*This blog is also a TikTok if you want to hear it in a different medium)
**A note for my Canadian friends: Happy Canada Day! Please don't weigh in on issues of systemic injustice without first understanding that America is different, Canada is not perfect, and we all have a lot to learn. I am so so so proud to be Canadian but a lot of what America struggles with, messily, out in the open, Canada quietly/more politely has issues with too. Help me spread love and awareness by thinking more critically and always aiming to do better. I am who I am in large part due to my excellent upbringing in the Canadian prairies.