So last week was my 40th lockdown birthday, due to thecurrent situation I was not expecting much, but how wrong was I. The love that I received was tremendous, it was such a beautiful day. I hope to share my experience soon but felt compelled to write a different post. As with most highs sometimes lows follow (not usually straight away), but towards the end of the week I was not really feeling my resilient self and was feeling mentally, emotionally and physically sick and exhausted. I acknowledged these feelings and worked through them only to be faced with more visions of racism that black men face.
As a mother to two black boys it always makes me wonder what the future holds for my sons. I’ve not yet seen the video of George Floyd, I saw a photo and felt so disturbed that I could not muster the energy to absorb the video. I see that image of him laying on the floor lifeless after pleading for his life on repeat in my mind. Let’s be real we have just witnessed murder! Call it what it is……..
If I knelt on a person and they died, I would be prosecuted and imprisoned. But it seems if you have a badge that gives you authority to do anything that you want. If I stole from a shop, I would be jailed but we place more value on material things than a black man’s life.
This week I also viewed the video of Amy Cooper the dog walker, who showed how overt racism works. She called the police and lied about the situation occurring (isn’t that an offence in itself) all the while strangling her dog because she did not like being filmed and challenged. Its apparent that she knew if she told the police that she was being threatened by an African American man that her story would be believed and validated. If it was not about race, why did she not call the police and say that a she felt threatened by a man in the park? Why did she need to draw attention to the colour of his skin?
It makes we wonder if my boys will ever be seen as individuals rather than the colour of their skin. My 3-year-old does not see colour, he just sees people. My 5-year-old has started to notice as he asked me if Cat (our lodger) is his sister why she is white and he is black. My explanation was that she does look like us. Do you have two eyes? Yes. Do you have a nose? Yes. Do you have a mouth? Yes. Does Cat have these things? Yes. So, she has the same things as you but they just look slightly different which makes us all unique. Racism, overt or not is learnt behaviour. Crossing the street and grabbing your purse because you see a group of black boys is not something that you are born with, they are experiences, stories or media narrative. Racism enables control which is why it will always be in our lives no matter how much we worked to break it down. I saw an interesting quote by Will Smith that stated racism had not got worse but was just being filmed more. Which leads us to the age-old question what can we do that is more than platitude?
My heart breaks when all too often I seen black men dying un-necessary. These men were fathers, uncles, brothers, husbands, grand-fathers and friends. Yes, this is America but these things happen over here int he UK, too, just more overtly. This is systematic and despite this happening in America these men are my brethren and when they hurt, I hurt. It also makes me think that if my sons went to the USA on holiday would they be treated the same way? I spent 6 months living and working in America in my early 20’s. Would I encourage my boys to do the same? At this time, I would have to say, no. I have male friends who say they do not even want to go to America for a holiday, forget working. They deem themselves as an endangered species over there.
The below is taken from Facebook – I do not know who created it but thought I would share it.
Black people are so tired…………..
- We cannot go jogging – #AmaudArbery
- We cannot relax in the comfort of our own homes – #BothemSean and #AtatiananJefferson
- We cannot ask for help after being in car crash – #JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride
- We cannot have a mobile phone – #StephonClark
- We cannot leave a party to get to safety – #JordanEdwards
- We cannot play music loud – #JordanDavis
- We cannot sell CDs – #AltonSterling
- We cannot sleep – #AiyanaJones
- We cannot walk home from the shop – #MikeBrown
- We cannot play cops and robbers – #TamirRice
- We cannot go to church – #Charleston9
- We cannot walk home with skittles – #TrayvonMartin
- We cannot hold a hairbrush while leaving our own stag party – #Seanbell
- We cannot party on New Year’s – #OscarGrant
- We cannot get a normal traffic ticket – #SandraBland
- We cannot lawfully carry a weapon – #PhilandoCastile
- We cannot break donw in public – #CoreyJones
- We cannot shop at Walmart – #JohnCrawford
- We cannot have disabled vehicle – #TerrenceCrutcher
- We cannot read a book in our own car – #KeithScott
- We cannot be a 10-year-old walking with our own Grandfather – #CliffordGlover
- We cannot decorate for a party – #ClaudeReese
- We cannot ask a police officer a question – #RandyEvans
- We can’t cash our cheque in peace – #YvonneSmallwood
- We cannot take out our wallet – #AmadouDiallo
- We cannot run – #WalterScott
- We cannot breathe – #EricGarner and #GeorgeFloyd
- We cannot live – #FreddirGray
We are tired of making Hashtags. Tired of trying of trying to convince you that #BlackLivesMatter too. Tired of dying. Tired. Tired. Tired. So very tired.
So, what’s next?
As always please comment below, like and share.