#blacklivesmatter #staywoke #sayhername and listen

My column—about keeping the violence against black and brown people in the forefront of our discussions rather than focusing on police good deeds—has elicited a response I didn’t expect. Even one of my closest friends who is a police officer read my column as a condemnation of his identity. I know what he thinks because I actually turned to my two LEO (a term I just learned, that means Law Enforcement Officer, for those of you who also didn’t know) friends for help. After so many “after this you’ll be out of luck if you call 911” types of comments, I needed to confirm that the police would continue protecting me. Even thinking that question for a few minutes has me still feeling shaky. And, yes, they both confirmed that public opinion doesn’t sway how they do their jobs. The pro-police people won’t turn violent, said one.

As so many people continue misreading my column as one being anti-police, or as disrespecting LEOs, I want to restate the actual point: we are living in a world where the news of violence against black and brown people is only just starting to be understood in the white world. White people need to hear and not dismiss or gloss over the realities of mass incarceration, including police violence. We need to recognize our systems are built on racism and we need to work to change it.

12 Ways to Be a White Ally to Black People, on theroot.com
11 Things White People Can Do to Be Real Anti-Racist Allies, on alternet.com


(note: the term “ally” is distasteful to me and I recommend not using it. the point of these links is to give concrete suggestions of actions white people can take in the fight.)

5 thoughts on “#blacklivesmatter #staywoke #sayhername and listen

  1. Heck, yes.

    I have a post on this brewing in my brain right now.

    Last year’s sleepless research on these matters led me to write a post I soon made private for reasons I can’t recall. May I link it here if I do make it public again?

  2. Heather, the hate that spewed from the mouths of the people who commented said it all. They don’t want to hear the truth. I keep forgetting that I have a brother whose second job is with the police. He’s a meter man. He is the kindest man I know. As the father of a disabled child, the meanest thrill he gets is ticketing illegal handicapped parked cars. I think he works unarmed, and doesn’t come across violent situations. But he’s still a LEO and I would hate to think that he would ever be in a situation to cover up evil deeds of his brothers in blue.

    • Don’t worry.. a meter maid is NOT LEO.. It’s a ticket writer.. Don’t confuse the hard working men and women of Law Enforcement with a meter maid..

  3. Thank you for bravely speaking the truth that faces Black Americans. As a transracial family, these are issues I am just really beginning to understand fully. The reactions you got show just how deeply ingrained the systemic racism is.

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