In light of Eric Garner and Mike Brown and Tamir Rice and Aiyana Stanley-Jones and so many others- black people killed by the police with no consequences and little hope that there ever will be, a lot of people are saying, what can we do?
I have been sickened by the grand juries refusing to even have a trial, and I have been thinking a lot.
What can we do? How can we confront and push back at the racism in America? What can we do? What can we do?
So. I have a suggestion for us, the white people who care about justice.
We have to stop calling 911. Or at least, we have to understand that we need to be very careful about how we get the police involved in a situation.
We- the white people of America- need to stop treating the police like we think they're gonna show up sweet as pie like Andy Griffith, when we can see them brutalizing black people on TV and in thousands of YouTube videos.
We need to treat calling 911 for anything involving a black person with the same care as a rattlesnake or a gun. Because calling the cops could be fatal for that person.
You see something questionable? Hang back for a minute and let it play out for a second. It's probably nothing.
Or you could go up to the black person and say- hey, what's going on? Are you ok? Do you need help? And if they don't want help, then you leave.
Look, I don't like talking to people I don't know, and I am not great with in-person situations that feel like they may be or get aggressive, so if I think something weird is going on, I really favor the hang back and wait method.
And I am not trying to say that there haven't been times when I've called the cops or told someone else they should call the cops. As white people, that's what we're taught and told to do.
But we have to be honest about the reality of the anti-black racism in America and what that means for black people.
It means that if we (white people) blithely call 911 to have the cops 'check out' a situation involving a black person, we could be setting in motion a situation that gets that person killed.
We are offloading our racial discomfort and our fear of black people onto the police and asking them to deal with it. And then the police show up and deal with it by killing the black person, because they see black people as criminals. Which I guess we do too, or else why are we calling the cops?
Cops are not social workers. They are not the kindly mediators of low level disputes.
They choked Eric Garner to death for loose cigarettes. They shot Mike Brown to death for jaywalking.
We need to be more careful. We need to be conscious of the damage our desire for colorblindness causes- because we are the people it blinds.
You want to do something? Well, that's a thing you could do.
You can also search Twitter for direct action protests in your area, where you could support the black people leading the protests. That's another thing.
This is not a solution to centuries of racism. It is a suggestion for harm reduction.
Please note, I am clearly not saying there is never a reason to call the police. I am leaving the comments open for now. If I get a bunch of fuckery, I'm closing them. Don't even bother sending me troll comments, b/c I will never publish them.