My Take on the Dallas Shootings, the Media, & Why Black Lives Matter Too

A Dallas Area Rapid Transit police officer receives comfort at the Baylor University Hospital

A Dallas Area Rapid Transit police officer receives comfort at the Baylor University Hospital

Yet again, I woke up to news of more violence and more killing. I have so much to say about the state of this country and this modern day civil war that’s going on. Every day we are becoming more and more divided. Blacks against Whites, civilians against cops. It is very clearly and quickly becoming an Us vs. Them situation and the irresponsible media is contributing to the discord and chaos that’s happening. They are so quick to post and publish a story, that they are not fact checking. They are not conducting due diligence in how a story is getting reported. When they report false information they are not as quick to post a retraction or an update. Instead of waiting for accurate information and confirmation on the shooters involved in last night’s Dallas shootings, they were quick to plaster the image of Mark Hughes identifying him as a shooter to only discover later on that he was not.

I don’t want to make this a race issue, but when I see comments on my social media newsfeeds describing black people as apes and barbaric it’s hard to ignore and pretend that race isn’t a factor because it is. For those of you who believe it is not I implore you to be honest with yourselves and acknowledge your white privilege. If you don’t believe in white privilege let me break it down for you.

  • White privilege is kissing your husband or son in the morning, watch them leave the house, and not worry that they won’t make it back home in the evening.
  • White privilege is being stopped by the police and not having to think about how you are going to respond to them; not having to make sure your tone of voice is non-threatening or non-aggressive.
  • White privilege is not having to feel like you automatically have to put your hands up just so you don’t get shot and you still may get shot even if you do.
  • White privilege is not having to talk to your sons and daughters about what not to do should they be stopped by the police.
  • White privilege is having to explain to White people why #blacklivesmatter too!
  • White privilege is when White people say slavery has been over for hundreds of years, why can’t you people get over it.
  • White privilege believes that in 2016 race isn’t a factor in how we are perceived, treated, and approached.
  • White privilege is refusing to acknowledge that this stuff happens.

While we mourn and acknowledge the Dallas shootings please let us not forget about #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile and the many others who have been gunned down by law enforcement who have abused their power.

What happened in Dallas speaks volumes about the state of this country. Civilians are getting killed. Cops are getting killed and the solution is not more killing. Killing doesn’t change a thing. All it does is leave an aftermath of grief, sorrow, frustration and anger. Stop killing. Start listening. We must all be a part of the solution.

BLM

Force lawmakers to take action on injustice and when they don’t vote them out of office. Stop waiting for somebody else to do something. You be that somebody and then rally up your friends and family to do something too. If we just sit idly and wait for change it will never happen. You have to demand it.

I understand some people’s apprehension not to speak up, their decision to not want to get involved. There is a level of fear that one must overcome when deciding to be vocal. You have to be willing to get criticized and scrutinized and be called all types of names. You become a target when you speak out. But what’s the alternative?

We cannot stay quiet when injustice happens. If we remain silent when it happens to others, we should not speak up when it happens to us or to someone we love.

I will not condemn or vilify all law enforcement. Because the majority should not be held liable for the actions of a few.

However, I will challenge law enforcement to find ways to work with the communities they serve. Go out into the neighborhoods you serve and talk to people. Treat them with respect. Treat them like human beings and not like animals. Don’t automatically assume we are all criminals, savages, or thugs. The majority of us are hard-working, law abiding citizens who pay taxes and contribute productively to the communities we live in and to society as a whole.

Acknowledge that what is happening is a reality for many people of color. Be vocal about misconduct and abuse of power in and within your precincts. When a fellow cop does wrong don’t let that slide. Call them out on it.

Work collectively with community leaders to help rebuild trust amongst the communities you serve.  We need you. We civilians cannot do it alone. We have to start holding bad cops accountable. How do we do that? We demand a change in legislation and policy. We use our voices and our votes and our intelligence.

Dr. Martin Luther King was an advocate of peace and he was not afraid of doing the hard, uncomfortable, and often dangerous work. Work that ultimately cost him his life. But he did not let fear stop him. He did not respond to violence with violence.

our-lives

In the days to come I will be compiling a list of resources to help all of us contact our local legislators and politicians and congress men/women. I will provide scripts on what to say and on how to effectively communicate our feelings, anger, and frustration with the current state of police and community relations. We have to bring them to task and start making them work for the constituency who elected them into office in the first place. Our voices matter. We have to start using them in constructive ways. Posting Facebook statuses and tweets isn’t going to change legislation. We have to call them. Write them. Bombard them with our feelings. Make them listen to us even when all they may want to do is hang up the phone. Keep dialing. Keep talking. Let them know that they need to start taking action.

 

To find out whom your local legislators are you can find them by state at this link:

https://www.congress.gov/state-legislature-websites

To get in touch with your federal, state, and local elected leaders visit:

https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

 

 

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