I have been fighting an internal battle the last 48 hours. I’ve been too angry to form any coherent thoughts, but too heartbroken to stay silent. So here I am, doing what I do best.
I wasn’t sure if I should speak on the monstrosities that are killing our people of color, because this is such a sensitive subject concerning an issue that I have never, and probably will never, directly experience. So, part of me said to just sit down and be quiet. There’s no need to insert yourself in something you’re not qualified to speak on, Bruna.
But I couldn’t hold back the tears. I cried when I heard the first pop in the Alton Sterling video. I cried when I saw Diamond Reynolds livestream her fiancee Philando Castile’s death on Facebook and witnessing her watch the man she loves die right in front of her and not be able to touch him. I cried knowing there was a little girl in the backseat of that car. A girl who would grow up never trusting a man with a badge because that man stole a life right in front of her. I cried picturing someone I love dying on another man’s watch. I cried imagining the next hashtag I type being my friend’s name.
And even then, a part of me felt like I wasn’t allowed to be sad. How dare you cry, Bruna. You don’t even have a clue what black people have had to endure in this world. You’ll never understand.
That’s true. I’ll never understand. Regardless of being a minority who’s faced her own prejudice, I will never understand racism to the extent that people of color have. I will never understand someone treating me differently because of the color of my skin. I will never understand the misinterpretation I may get if I wore my hoodie and sweatpants to the liquor store. I will never understand the fear of having my life taken away by someone who I grew up believing was supposed to protect me.
But I’m human, and you don’t have to be black to know that black lives matter.
I’ll admit that I didn’t really understand the Black Lives Matter movement when it first began. It kind of seemed obvious to me. Of course, black lives matter. All lives matter, I thought to myself. I was missing the picture. I was missing the picture because the shade of my skin had given me a sort of “white privilege” regardless of not being white.
What I failed to recognize is that white lives have always mattered. You don’t wake up every day to a white person becoming a victim of unjust police brutality, let alone being killed by it. And if any incident even remotely close to that happened, you bet your ass there was immense uproar and instant damage control that followed.
The same can’t be said for people of color, and we’ve been getting a heartbreaking reminder of that time and time and time and time again.
I found myself feeling so helpless. What can I do? What could I possibly do? I reached out to friends asking that very question. Some said just my kind words were enough. Others said it helped to be aware. But that doesn’t seem enough for me.
I remember as a little girl, my dad’s eyes would light up when I came home with history homework, because it was his favorite subject. Me, not so much. I’d sit on his lap and argue with him, “Why do we have to learn this stuff? It’s old. It already happened. Who cares?”
He’d tell me, “Bruna, you have to know what has happened leading up to this point, so you don’t make the same mistakes over again.”
Dad, you were so right. How did we end up here?
Racism is alive and well in 2016. There’s no ignoring the truth that is broadcasted daily now. We have literally now seen a black man get killed live on social media by a police officer for no reason. And if your only response to that is “We need to know all the facts before we come to a conclusion,” I’m going to not-so-kindly ask you to please shut the fuck up.
Nearly 600 deaths by police officers, and yet, zero have faced repercussions. No accountability. No justice.
A badge does not make man God. It makes you an officer, whose sole purpose is to protect and serve. Protect. And serve. Everybody. The moment that officer begins to choose who he deems worthy of protection is the moment he loses his purpose. The moment that officer begins to choose who he deems worthy of life and death is the moment he becomes a murderer.
I can’t help but worry about the future. The boiling point is here, and that became extremely evident tonight when riots broke out in Dallas and police officers were getting shot. I worry about ever bringing a child into this world, and having to explain why not all police officers can be trusted, why the government will only protect certain people, why America isn’t the “land of the free and home of the brave” anymore, why their friends, or maybe even they themselves, get treated differently than other people.
I wonder when the innocence left us. Let us not forget that hate and discrimination is taught. Children are color blind, but at some point through life, some of those children’s views become skewed. One day, that little girl or little boy was taught to believe that certain people are better than others, that certain people are to be feared and seen as evil.
That certain people’s lives matter more than others.
When did we stop loving each other? When did it become so incredibly difficult to look at the person next to us and recognize that they are another human being, just like us. That they, too, have a soul and heart and a life and people who love them. That we are more alike than different.
I know some people may be reading this and rolling their eyes. Here’s Bruna getting all mushy and shit again, talking about things that she has no right to speak about, and posting it on her dating blog, nonetheless. Well, I’m sorry you feel that way, but let me remind you that I have made it my sole purpose to inspire expression and promote love of all kind.
So, if this is something that bothers you so deeply, then you may want to distance yourself from me, because I can promise you this–I will never be quiet during conversations that matter.
I will never sit back and watch people being slaughtered and turn the other cheek. I will never not ask questions that deserve answers. I will never shy away from injustice just because it doesn’t affect me personally. And not because I feel like my words deserve to be heard or because I have the power to change the world, but because it is our duty as human beings to spread love and protect each other, and somewhere along the way, we seemed to have forgotten that.
Well, I’m here to remind you.