We, in the United States, live in a very broken system.
I’ve seen proof of it when people in mental health crisis are jailed and punished and given no supports. Just more hoops to jump through.
I’ve seen it in the school that my child attends with a building that is visibly worn, and teachers that have to crowd fund for resources. We are in the most diverse, but also poorest area of the district. I have no criticisms of my child’s school. They are so good to my child, but I know the schools other areas of my city are pristine and well funded by the community. Those communities would have a fit if their kids didn’t have access to a beautiful campus and endless resources.
I seen the results of our broken system as families are bankrupted and forced from their homes after a loved one dies from cancer.
I noticed when Charleena Lyles, a pregnant black woman was murdered in front of her children by police. Folks like to point out that she had a knife, but fail to point out that officers were caught lying about the case. She deserved better, on so many fronts. I can’t even begin to go into all the reasons why the system failed her.
I see it when homeless people are subjected to sweeps and demonized. I see people claiming these folks WANT to be there, that they prefer being homeless. Maybe that’s because we’ve created a culture and lifestyle that is unsustainable and not inclusive of our ENTIRE community. I also personally know folks that would prefer not to be homeless, but they can’t afford housing. They are fighting in every way, but it’s been years and they’re still struggling.
I am watching this revolution take place, and I am cheering it on. I don’t care all that much about the looting that happened. Sure, I feel for people with businesses that were hit. I don’t want small business owners to be financially hurt. I hope they will get help to recover.
Target, though, Nordstroms, Best Buy, I’m not worried about them.
The destruction was part of rage and grief of an oppressed community and I understand that. They can spray paint and tear statues down. They can close down streets and stand up to the police, I don’t care if I’m inconvenienced.
I LOVED watching 8,000 people walk down the street in front of my home as part of the “WE WANT TO LIVE” rally. My street was shut down for hours. Lots of things go on in my neighborhood. I was never concerned that this rally would cause a problem. And it didn’t.
Thanks to all of this, I’ve educated myself about the defund the police movement. I understand what ACAB means. It kind of ruffles my white feathers, but I get it.
I grew up trained to respect and obey the police. That they’re on our side. After watching all the footage and live streams I’ve seen in my own city, after my own experiences of a system that has failed me and others close to me, I’m not so sure anymore whose side the police are on. It didn’t feel like they were on our side when they gassed an entire residential neighborhood and maced a child walking home after a peaceful protest.
I’m white. I’m privileged. I benefit from a system that favors me thanks to my race and appearance. I am part of the problem. I STILL do problematic things and likely will continue to. I have a lot to learn.
I don’t really GET how bad it is, despite all just I said. I can argue that I grew up poor, that I have a disability and always felt isolated. I can exclaim how I’ve fought for everything in my life and have struggled. In the end, I will never understand what it’s like to be a poor, autistic, woman of color.
I will never be able to truly understand that experience and how much harder it can be. I can’t even wrap my mind around the idea of dealing with all the difficulties I’ve had in my life with another layer of prejudices and systemic issues to hold me back. All I can do is acknowledge this fact and try to be better.
I questioned writing any of this at all. After all, this isn’t about me. Those who have been silenced and oppressed are the voices that need to be heard right now.
Why did I sit down and write this then? Because it’s the white folks like me who need to hear this. Maybe, just maybe, someone will read my words and relate more easily to the way I express myself. Maybe it’ll shift someone’s view point just a little.