Listening, Communication, and Police Brutality

It’s been a little over a month since the shootings of Alton Sterling, Phil Castile, and the police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and I still don’t have the words to describe my emotions. I can say that I am still hurting, angry, terrified, and confused. But it’s more than that. I grieve with my black brothers and sisters across the nation and I wonder about my future here in the States as a black woman.

What’s going to happen to me if I am ever pulled over by a police officer for something I didn’t do? What’s going to happen if I’m out walking in my neighborhood and someone calls 911 on me because I look “black and suspicious”? What’s going to happen the next time I’m in a store and a clerk sees me wandering around?

After Sterling and Castile were shot, not one of my friends asked me how I was doing or if I was affected by the news. I’d even been posting about my pain and confusion on Facebook. But do you know what happened after the police officers were killed in Dallas? Family members and Facebook friends jumped on their keyboards typing out “Pray for Dallas” and “Blue Lives Matter” as fast as they could. I respect law enforcement and was hurting for the policemen’s families too but what does that mean to me when people do that? How do you think that makes me feel?

I am a black girl growing up in a white family so there is only so much that they can understand or help me with. They are not cautious for the same reasons when driving by a police car. They have never been followed around in a store because of their skin color. They’ve never been stared at when they’re out walking the dog in an unfamiliar neighborhood.

Please don’t think that I am whining or complaining. I am merely stating how I am doing because no one is bothering to ask. And If you don’t ask, then you will never know. If you will never know, you will never be aware. If you will never be aware, you cannot help. And if you cannot help, you cannot make change happen.

Even if you have your own ideas about “black lives matter” or “who was at fault” now is not the time to be discussing that with your black friends who are hurting. Please stop asking me my opinion on the BLM movement or police brutality if you haven’t first seen how I am doing. Please don’t cover up our shouts of “black lives matter” with “all lives matter”. I don’t care if you think every life is already equal or that every police officer is a wonderful person. Now is not the time to be screaming that in our faces. We are hurting, mourning, and crying. We are angry, scared, confused. But most of all, we are feeling silenced.

ALICIA is a-20 year-old Beninoise-American, currently majoring in Early Childhood Education in NW Arkansas. In addition to her love for little kids and spicy food, she spends her free time reading, watching movies, and trying to maintain her unruly afro puff. Alicia uses her blog to speak out against social injustice.

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