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Black Lives, Black Voices Matter

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There isn’t a lot I can say about the recent police/state violence against black people just trying to live without being harassed and murdered by law enforcement. It’s wrong, it’s evil, and it’s being perpetrated by our government on local and federal levels all the time. Black people are working against a tireless machine of white supremacy that’s aided not only by the state, but by the media, social media, and the inaction and indifference of white people.

I’m angry. Furious. But my anger and my fury mean absolutely nothing when compared to the pain, the frustration, the hopelessness, all of the awful that steals away the joy and safety from black people every single day. So rather than write another white person thinkpiece about how all of this affects me, me, me, and my white feelings, here are some links where other people share perspectives that are more pertinent and important. If you have any to add, leave them in the comments, but please, no links to tweet threads/Facebook posts (that aren’t your own), because there’s a hostile environment on social media right now.

A Heavy Load, Camryn Garrett

In the Turmoil Over Race and Policing, Children Pay a Steep Emotional Price, Yamiche Alcindor

Michael Brown’s Mom, on Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Lezley McSpadden

Dallas Shootings Deal Black Police Officers A Double Heartbreak, Christopher Mathias

Being a cop showed me just how racist and violent the police are. There’s only one fix., Reddit Hudson (I hesitated to link to The Washington Post after their Tweet mistakenly identifying DeRay Mckesson as the Dallas shooter, but this take was too compelling not to include it.)

Dallas is a tragedy for all of us – and shouldn’t shut down calls for justice,
Ijeoma Oluo

4 Ways White People Can Process Their Emotions Without Bringing the White Tears, Jennifer Loubriel

VIDEO: StoryCorps Animates a Story of Police Violence From a Black Man Raised by White Parents, Sameer Rao


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  1. ella

    Thanks for the links.

    I won’t link it here, but when I used to read XOJane, I read the most self indulgent white woman think piece about racism. In a nutshell racism made her sad because someone might look at her and think she’s a racist. She wasn’t sad that people are being murdered on a daily basis, she was sad that other white people made her look bad.

    July 11, 2016
    • zvi

      Who is this comment for? Who do you assume is reading this blog post? How does it further the discussion of black people’s lives being affected by systemic racism in the United States? What are you trying to say or do with this comment?

      July 11, 2016
      • Ange

        I would say it’s because of this: “So rather than write another white person thinkpiece about how all of this affects me, me, me, and my white feelings” and just, you know, being thankful that Jenny is mindful of that unlike the xojane author. It’s a comment linked directly to the actual content of this piece and doesn’t need any justification.

        July 12, 2016
    • Gotta be honest, I fall into that white woman’s line of thinking distressingly often, and am sometimes rather desperate to be seen as “not one of THOSE white people.” Absolutely not defending her in any way, because she should know better, just expressing relief that I stumbled into a group of authors like Jenny and commenters like you, who keep me (albeit indirectly) accountable for my shitty thoughts/behavior by pointing it out in others. Thank you guys for being awesome.

      July 19, 2016
  2. mydogspa

    Uh, if no one has mentioned it, typo in title, should be “Matter.” Sorry, I know it’s a nitpick . .

    Hudson’s piece in the Washington Post sums up the issue in the problematic police departments. If there’s no top-down culture of respect, then that department will be racist and over-control-centric and not listen to the people they’re supposed to protect, like the kid that answered the door on crutches who couldn’t obey the command to ‘stand’ on the porch.

    Not all PD’s are like this, but many are. Police academies don’t teach how to interact with people, and the culture of each department is different based on how it’s run, from the top on down. One town’s PD may be great, its next-door neighbor may be brutal as all get-out.

    But one thing we can do to fix all this is to ensure each and every PD has sufficient training, and that means the taxpayers MUST be willing to pay for it. Most taxpayers vote down bond measures and extra tax measures that could pay for this type of training, so with non-existent funds the training doesn’t happen and then all the white taxpayers act all surprised when these events occur. Well, dudes, it’s our own damn fault. So what we CAN do is to to our departments, get the funding needed to adequately train the officers so they properly interact with the people they’re SUPPOSED to protect, and if any cop doesn’t want to partake of the training they can take a hike and go elsewhere.

    My $.02

    July 11, 2016
    • JennyTrout

      Thanks for pointing out the title thing. Double letters are my downfall nearly always.

      July 11, 2016
  3. candy apple
    candy apple

    I read this just now; it’s a letter from some law students to their professor, anonymously, as they took umbrage with his/her wearing of a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt. The response is spectacular, as each of their points is taken apart and analyzed in detail.

    July 11, 2016
    • mydogspa

      GREAT writeup on the professor’s part! LOVED it.

      One of the things that clarifies her point was told to me by my wife who got it from someone on her Facebook page, namely, “Black Lives Matter” is misunderstood by many white folks who get in a tizzy that ‘all lives matter.’ As the professor points out, the BLM is about FOCUS, not EXCLUSION. So the Facebook writer told their friends if there was a rally to ‘support breast cancer research,’ and someone showed up with a sign that says ‘support ALL cancer research’ and gets all huffy about it, yes, we all know that ALL cancer is bad and deserves research money, but this rally is about supporting the ONE specific type of cancer, namely breast cancer.

      I probably didn’t phrase that right, but hopefully you get the gist of it.

      July 11, 2016
    • Lieke

      That professor’s reply is fantastic.
      Thanks for pointing this out!

      July 12, 2016
  4. Mandi Rei Serra
    Mandi Rei Serra

    I think it’s important to note that slavery didn’t end with the Civil War. After the war, the prison leasing system emerged, where African-Americans were targeted with biased laws, arbitrarily arrested, and then made to “work off” the fines they had levied upon them by corrupt means. They were treated worse than slaves, because it was “punishment” and harshness expected. Even as time goes on, and injustices named, the attitudes and blind eyes are passed down, generation by generation. I think that it should also be noted that the privatization of the prison system, and “super predator” thinking reinforces the systematic targeting of POC, evoking a new variation of the prison-leasing system.

    Highly, HIGHLY recommend the PBS documentary, Slavery By Another Name.

    July 11, 2016
  5. Jayce

    Jenny, thank you. Everyone who’s responded, thank you. As a black woman, I’m exhausted. I’m worn out on a daily in a way I could never have imagined I would be. I grew up around happy liberals, went to school with happy liberals, live around happy liberals now. But I don’t want to go on a walk by myself, and I fear so much for my husband, because he’s six feet and 220 pounds, and dark and bald. He’s a doctor. I’m a lawyer. Why are we afraid? But every time I see another shooting, I fear for him. He’s the good guy. But people are scared of him. Some don’t want him to work on them. That’s our reality right now.

    I’m constantly on the verge of tears now. Dallas nearly broke me, and I read about the killing of a white man by the cops this morning and I lost it. Just broke all the way down. So thank you all for caring, for posting these links, for being genuine allies. I thank you.

    July 12, 2016

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