Silence is COMPLICITY!

I rarely speak out on racial issues but to be quite honest, I feel the need to address comments I have been reading from friends / acquaintances / colleagues on various social media platforms… As a Black American, some of what I have been reading is painful, like pouring salt on an open wound, and I don’t think some realize the gravity of their words / actions ( or inactions). At least, that is what I keep telling myself… I am NO expert on this other than my own experiences and those of family and friends… I do my best to be objective / rely on facts while adding a little bit of my thoughts.

I welcome CONSTRUCTIVE discourse / questions. Anything else will be deleted. Please keep in mind that I drafted this after many sleepless nights, so be kind 😘.

If you are not interested in reading this long post, I ask that you at least scroll down to the end to check out some actions 🎯 you should take. Feel free to provide others and I will happily add.

***NOTE: I am updating this post with relevant info as it comes available and with new perspectives as a result of constructive discourse.***

🔥 POLICE BRUTALITY 🔥

This has been going on for ages but thanks to mobiles and social media, the rest of the world gets to see what we in the Black community in the US 🇺🇸 have been experiencing.

As I have many friends and acquaintances who are not US born and raised, I wanted to find a succinct educational resource to explain police brutality in the US – hence Encyclopedia Brittanica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Police-Brutality-in-the-United-States-2064580

I find it interesting that the majority of Encyclopedia Brittanica’s excerpt on Police Brutality is devoted to brutality of African Americans, stating “Notwithstanding the variety among groups that have been subjected to police brutality in the US, the great majority of victims have been African Americans… A key factor in explaining the predominance of African Americans among victims of police brutality is anti-black racism among members of mostly white police departments… Other factors concern the unique institutional culture of urban police departments, which stresses group solidarity, loyalty, and a ‘show of force’ approach to any perceived challenge to an officer’s authority.”

Related Articles / Data:

🔥🔥 THE LAW IN QUESTION § 1047.7 USE OF DEADLY FORCE 🔥🔥

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/10/1047.7

(a) Deadly force means that force which a reasonable person would consider likely to cause death or serious bodily harm. IT’S USE MAY BE JUSTIFIED ONLY UNDER CONDITIONS OF EXTREME NECESSITY, WHEN ALL LESSER MEANS HAVE FAILED or cannot reasonably be employed.”

A protective force officer is authorized to use deadly force only when one or more of the following circumstances exists:

(1) Self-Defense. When deadly force reasonably appears to be necessary to protect a protective force officer who reasonably believes himself or herself to be in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.

(2) Serious offenses against persons…

(3) Nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices…

(4) Special nuclear material…

(5) Apprehension. When deadly force reasonably appears to be necessary to apprehend or prevent the escape of a person reasonably believed to: (i) have committed an offense of the nature specified in paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(4) 1 of this section; or (ii) be escaping by use of a weapon or explosive or who otherwise indicates that he or she poses a significant threat of death or serious bodily harm to the protective force officer or others unless apprehended without delay.

The law makes it very clear; however, I feel the self-defense reason is PURPOSELY misused because of the subjectivity of fear… and because of this, there is NO accountability or justice for the deaths of so many UNARMED black Americans. I am not saying that EVERY situation fails the self defense requirement, but I think some of the video / body cam footage / witness accounts on SOME of these well-known cases show otherwise.

🔥🔥🔥 WEAPONIZATION OF BLACK SKIN 🔥🔥🔥

I don’t need to spend a lot of time on this thanks to Amy Cooper who provided a recent viral example of this with her words “I am going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” fully knowing the power of her words. https://time.com/5842442/amy-cooper-dog-central-park/

There are a multitude of examples of the police being called on a Black person for just about everything… essentially just for existing… Google is your friend on this if you need more examples. 😏

The Hate U Give”, based on the bestselling novel by Angie Thomas, and starring my friend’s husband, Russel Hornsby, is a powerful book / movie! Unfortunately, pieces of the story (if not the whole story) resonates with so many Black Americans. The “talk” that Black parents have with their children starting at a young age… Code switching / Fitting into “white” society… Police Brutality… Internal racism / Bias… The power of the badge / Blue brotherhood – even for Black police officers… It all boils down to WHEN THE SKIN YOU ARE IN IS THE WEAPON THEY FEAR… [The Hate U Give – https://youtu.be/ONQT4WT44YE]

There are plenty of examples of the differing treatment of white and black people being detained by police. Police manage to subdue / arrest ARMED white people without killing them but cannot seem to do the same with UNARMED Black people 🙄. I am not saying in EVERY instance, but there are plenty… Again, Google is your friend… And the lessons learned from all the police brutality cases the past few years: If we comply, we die. If we don’t comply, we die

⛔️⛔️ So please tell me, how can we (Black people) live comfortably in a country 🇺🇸 that sees our skin as a weapon? ⛔️⛔️

🔥🔥🔥🔥 RELIANCE ON THE POLICE / CRIMINAL JUSTICE / LEGAL SYSTEM 🔥🔥🔥🔥

This is a complicated topic, with lots of variables… so, I will stick mostly with questions.

⛔️⛔️ Generally, if the role of the police 👮‍♀️ 👮 is to serve and protect the community, who should the Black community turn to when the very people who are supposed to serve and protect also have a history of brutalizing the Black community? And, because police often use fear as their defense for use of deadly force, there is little to no accountability or justice, which leaves room for abuse. If you were in this situation, would you feel that the odds are stacked against you? Would you fear the police? And when you repeatedly see situations where police are not held to account for their behavior, would you trust the criminal justice / legal system? ⛔️⛔️

There ARE significant disparities in the criminal justice / legal systems depending on the melanin in one’s skin. Generally, Black and Latino men are given harsher sentences / longer terms than White men charged with the same crime. Criminal Justice reform is very much needed! There are many articles on this topic… Here are a few, but feel free to research on your own.

There is a phrase engraved on the front of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. – “Equal justice under the law”. Although I believe it refers to equal treatment regardless of socioeconomic status, I think the Black community would be happy if it also referred to equal treatment regardless of race. Legal peeps, don’t read too deep into this… Just a surface level comment 🤓.

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 WANTING JUSTICE FOR GEORGE FLOYD, BREONNA TAYLOR, ARMAUD ARBERRY (AND ALL OTHERS WHO SUFFERED AT THE HANDS OF THE POLICE) 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Police brutality against Black Americans is a longstanding systemic issue! Unfortunately, George Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020 is not the only case of police brutality in the past few months, but it is 1 of the 2 cases that is the straw that has broken the camel’s 🐪 back of Black rage. As this case is all over the news, feel free to read the linked article or Google if you want more details. [https://www.vox.com/identities/2020/5/30/21275694/george-floyd-protests-minneapolis-atlanta-new-york-brooklyn-cnn]

The other (and depending where you live) lesser known protest currently occurring is for Breonna Taylor. On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor was sleeping in her bed when police stormed her house (using a no-knock warrant) and riddled 8 bullets in her body, killing her. They immediately arrested her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was charged with the attempted murder of a police officer and aggravated assault for trying to protect their home as he thought they were victims of a home invasion. (Charges were dropped and he was finally released from jail in late May 2020). Keep in mind, the suspect they were searching for (not Breonna nor her boyfriend) was already in police custody BEFORE they arrived at Breonna’s house and killed her. Charges have not been filed against any of the police officers involved. [https://www.vox.com/2020/5/13/21257457/breonna-taylor-louisville-shooting-ahmaud-arbery-justiceforbre]

Even so, neither condemnation by the POTUS (Donald J. Trump) nor termination of the officers involved in either George Floyd’s or Breonna Taylor’s deaths nor arresting just 1 of the 4 officers involved in the murder of George Floyd is justice! It’s one step in the right direction. This is a systemic issue! The officers know (as well as others in blue) the system ultimately will protect them. They have the power, which is why it continues to happen. And until those with power and privilege help dismantle the structure, and are really okay with RACIAL EQUALITY (and the resulting loss of privilege) – not just lip service, it will continue to happen!

The Armaud Arberry case, although not a situation of police brutality demonstrates the corrupt system… Armaud Arberry was murdered in February 2020, and his story went viral in May 2020, when a video of his murder was leaked. Had the video of his murder not been leaked, Gregory and Travis McMichael would not be charged with his murder. You can read about the details. [https://www.thecut.com/2020/05/ahmaud-arbery-shooting-georgia-explainer.html]

It is really looking like there was a cover-up with the Armaud Arberry investigation, which is why the Dept of Justice is now involved. There are so many questions about how the case was handled and why it took 74 days for two of the killers to be arrested and charged… We are still waiting for the 3rd person (William “Roddie” Bryan, who recorded the murder) to be charged, if it happens…

Unfortunately, it looks like the investigation into George Floyd’s murder is going down the same path… We all know what we saw during the viral video of George Floyd’s murder. His life was snuffed out over the course of 8+ minutes right before our very eyes by a police officer with 3 other officers aiding. Interestingly enough, the preliminary autopsy report by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner said there were “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxiation or strangulation.” According to the report, he died from the combined effect of being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions (hypersensitive heart disease / coronary artery disease – both the result of high blood pressure), and any potential intoxicants 🙄.

A certain quote comes to mind that was said on July 24, 2018 in Kansas City… “Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.” – President Donald J Trump

The gaslighting of America 🇺🇸 continues…

Thankfully, George Floyd’s family hired an attorney who requested an independent autopsy. The independent autopsy confirmed that George Floyd died via asphyxiation from compression to his neck, back, and leg. Subsequent to the publication of the independent autopsy report, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner (ME) released their final report and agreed it was asphyxiation. Funny how that happens… 🙄 The ME also asserted that underlying health conditions and drugs contributed. These two factors are in dispute with the independent autopsy because had the officers not been pressing on his neck, back, and leg, he would not have died. [https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-minneapolis-police-autopsy-idUKKBN2383JU?taid=5ed590a4710ac20001b0db3b:+Trending+Conten]

⛔️⛔️ It is disheartening that it took a social media storm to have these 3 cases get the attention they deserve – all in May 2020… And that it is taking protests for any action to really be taken. How many more cases are there???

We, as black people, are not asking for special treatment just EQUAL treatment when it comes to policing, investigation, sentencing, etc. Note that this is just a subset of what we really want, which is RACIAL EQUALITY. Is that too much to ask? Racial equality benefits each and everyone of us! ⛔️⛔️

FOR EMPHASIS: The system includes the strong culture of those in Blue to protect their own (along w/ protections by DAs), the police unions, our politicized DOJ 🙄, those in CONGRESS who have been around for ages and have allowed the structures to remain that perpetuate racial inequality, and THOSE WITH PRIVILEGE… Silence is complicity! To be quite frank, we need ALL hands on deck to dismantle the structure!

🇺🇸 Population: Whites ~60%, Hispanics / Latinos ~18%, Blacks ~13%, Asians ~6%, American Indian / Alaskan Natives / Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islanders / Other ~3%. [https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/IPE120218]

The 🇺🇸 Black community is BEGGING for your help to achieve RACIAL EQUALITY! White community, show us (and other POC) that you truly care with your ACTIONS! See My Requests section for specific actions you can take.

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 PEACEFUL PROTESTS 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

I repeatedly read or get asked why the Black community can’t protest peacefully… You do realize this is what Colin Kaepernick was kneeling for? Beto provides a great reminder of the details [https://youtu.be/SGWmh-maevk]

How well was Kaep’s message received? 🤔 … He received quite a bit of outrage and even death threats for silently protesting police brutality. POTUS (Donald J Trump) even condemned his actions, suggesting he leave the country. Peaceful protests have done NOTHING to move the needle in eradicating police brutality against Black people.

⛔️⛔️ So I ask, what specific actions should the Black community take to further the cause of ending police brutality against Black people if decades of peaceful protests haven’t produced results? I am repeatedly told that the Black community needs to vote if we want change. We do… Keep in mind that we only comprise 13% of the US… ⛔️⛔️

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 RIOTS 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

MLK says it best… It speaks volumes that his words are still relevant today – 50+ years later… 😢🤯🤬

“I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.” – Martin Luther King, “The Other Speech” at Stanford University 4/14/1967 [Full Speech – https://vimeo.com/117362753]

I don’t necessarily endorse all of the actions I am seeing across the country, but who am I to judge? I understand and empathize! Everyone expresses emotions differently, depending on their particular circumstances.

Please keep in mind that the US is still grappling with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the world. (As of 6/1/2020, the US has 1.85M cases of the 6.26M worldwide and 107K deaths of 375K worldwide). Most US citizens have been cooped up at home since March 2020 when our economy was shut down OR had to work the front lines / are essential workers. As of 5/28/2020, the US has a ~20% unemployment rate with 40 Million people out of work. And the economic outlook is not that great… [https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/3-charts-reveal-how-the-covid-19-unemployment-crisis-isnt-over] Even though the US did pass an unemployment bill, recipients living in major metropolitan cities will struggle to cover monthly rent / mortgage payments, let alone anything else. And to make matters worse, for the majority of US citizens healthcare insurance is tied to employment… AND, if Black, there is a greater susceptibility to catching COVID-19… AND, many frontline / essential workers are Black… [https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/racial-ethnic-minorities.html]

Again, I don’t necessarily endorse all of the actions I am seeing across the country, but I definitely understand and empathize! It has been confirmed that some people (organizations tied to white supremacy, drug cartels, far left and far right extremists, etc) may be taking advantage of the situation, doing damage to further their own cause, which has nothing to do with the protests against police brutality… 😢🤯🤬.

Extremist Groups – [https://www.wflx.com/2020/05/31/officials-see-extremist-groups-disinformation-protests/]

White Supremacist Organizations – [https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/500414-minnesota-officials-believe-white-supremacists-attending-demonstrations]

Non-Protestors – [https://www.facebook.com/276157035868006/posts/1631617923655237/] [https://twitter.com/Freeyourmindkid/status/1266598693647638528?] [https://www.thedailybeast.com/black-organizers-enraged-by-white-agitators-here-to-fck-shit-up-in-george-floyd-protests]

Attorney General William Barr (5/30/2020): “… In many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful protest are being hijacked by violent radical elements. Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda. In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized, and driven by anarchic and left extremist groups. Far left extremist groups using Antifa like tactics. Many of whom traveled from outside the state to promote the violence…” [https://youtu.be/Qp3jY7rT-X4]

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 MY TAKE 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

I am only one black person who is emotionally drained and paralyzed by all of the viral racist acts the past few weeks, educating people on how to be true allies, remembering all of the police injustices experienced by MY black family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers, and scared for what’s to come for my very innocent young nephew, my young niece, my sister, my brother, my bro-in-law, my cousins, my extended family, friends, acquaintances, etc.

🎯🎯🎯 🎯🎯🎯 MY REQUESTS OF YOU 🎯🎯🎯 🎯🎯🎯

Actions speak louder than words, likes, shares, etc! We need ALL hands on deck to achieve racial equality in the US 🇺🇸 , so PLEASE do your part as we will ALL benefit 🙏🏼 🙏🏼 🙏🏼!

1️⃣ Find out what your implicit biases are and work to overcome them! We all have them… This is a FREE resource from Harvard to help identify them [ https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatouchtest.html]

  • Click on Project Implicit Social Attitudes / I Wish To Proceed (bottom of page) / Select Test – RACE IAT, NATIVE IAT, ARAB-MUSLIM IAT, ASIAN IAT, etc.

2️⃣ Understand the difference between overt and covert racism – visual below! You might be surprised… Please avoid both! [https://www.facebook.com/939245856181662/posts/2698280023611561/?d=n]

  • The visual presents *some* of the ways people practice and reinforce white supremacy that they may not be aware of, or even think of as “white supremacy”. The comments provide a wealth of information re: what terms mean and / or why they reinforce white supremacy. Google can also be your friend 😏
  • Website sponsoring the visual [https://www.theconsciouskid.org/organizational-partners]

3️⃣ Take some actions supporting racial justice! The link provides a list if you need help with options… There are simple things you can do (Books – including children’s / Movies; Making sure your police department enforces the use of body cams / police de-escalation trainings; Reading about Black American History, etc) as well as other more time consuming things… [https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234]

4️⃣ VOTE in ALL local, state, and federal elections. Take the time to research the people / issues on the ballot so that you are making an informed choice. Realize that elected officials are supposed to represent you and your interests.

Much love to you all! If you haven’t already, please reach out to any 🇺🇸 Black family, friends, or acquaintances to provide your support. This has been an emotionally trying time for most – if not all of us – in the Black community 😘