sam dubose is the 534th black person to be killed by police this year. 534. let that number sink in.
sandra bland is one of 5 women to die in police custody in the month of july. she is one of 5 black women to die at the hands of police in the MONTH of july. i’ll give you a moment to catch up.
(edit: raynetta turner of mount vernon, ny is actually the 5th woman. my apologies for the error.)
i’m not going to lie to you, dear reader. i’m almost in tears just writing this. i’ve already shed quite a few tears thinking this week about sam dubose and what his family must be going through, what kind of culture we live in that will let this happen and will, in a matter of days, probably move on to discussing the kardashians or whatever, what kind of country we live in that devalues human life this way.
534. that number is big. too big. and still, people have donated to ray tensing’s defense fund. he posted bond yesterday and is probably hiding out at home. today, he pleaded not guilty, despite probably the clearest video we’ve had so far of a cop murdering a person of color. it will take awhile for him to be tried; we are not guaranteed a conviction, although certainly county prosecutor joe deters wants to put him away for life.
i’ve spent the last few days debating white privilege and what it means to move through the world unafraid of dying at the hands of the police. i’ve discussed the culture of policing in this country and how broken and sinister it really is. when it comes down to it, i fear the lack of empathy people have in the united states. we are so willing to excuse someone’s death because someone has a rap sheet, or because they tried to protect themselves from being attacked by another human being. (last i checked, police officers are not gods and therefore not exempt from being hit when they attack someone else. last i checked, all human beings have a fight or flight response when attacked.) our society is made up of many people who would rather believe a police officer did his “job,” even when there is clear evidence of excessive force that becomes murder. how can those of us who believe that black lives matter change the minds of people who are willing to ignore the facts to maintain their own privilege? i’m not sure anymore. anyone who still believes that our country has moved into a post-racial period is deluding themselves and living in absolute denial about the state of affairs these days.
i’m so full of anger.
i’m so deeply sad.
how many more??
say their names until there is justice for the living and the dead. don’t let those murdered by police slip through the cracks. don’t be lulled into complacency. we are all responsible. be a witness and go do something to help, whatever that is. we’re all in this together, people. this problem is not going away.