If I had a dollar for every time I said I would stop reading the news, I probably wouldn’t be writing on this blog. But here I am- a young, Black, socially-awkward female, who happens to be madly in love with a young, mostly-Caucasian, successful male inner city police officer. To me, this is not a problem, and to many of the people around us, the feeling is the same. However, it is interesting to see where the chips really fall with certain people in your life and in the community around you, when the world around you becomes polarized, as it is today. You cannot walk five feet in this country these days without hearing about the latest police-related shooting and the protests or riots that follow. Our country is going through a bit of a revolution, of sorts, and it is anyone’s guess as to how it all ends. With that being said, I am a big girl, and I have found myself on opposite ends from people that I have known and loved before. It should not be a huge surprise when someone or some people who I have never had issues with before, suddenly give me the cold shoulder. Yet, I am.
Life is a journey. There are highs and there are lows. I like to think that I have chosen wisely when it comes to the people that I have strapped in beside me on this journey, but sometimes, some people just cannot handle the turbulence. They have moments of weakness, or perhaps moments of truth, and jump ship as soon as the going gets rough. A few years ago, having this very phenomenon happen would be enough to put me over the edge. Now, as bad as it may seem to say, I really couldn’t care less.
Still, it is interesting being in my position, because I can empathize and even relate to many of the struggles experienced from both sides of the debate. On one hand, there are a lot of areas throughout the country wherein people of color are being targeted and treated unfairly by those who swore to protect them. They are having their privacy invaded, their dignity stripped, and are being crushed under the ages old heel of elitist oppression that cuts most of them off at the knees before they have even reached the peak of their lives. They are slaughtered in the streets like animals and forgotten. They are overlooked and suffer for years or even an entire lifetime with mental health or physical conditions that would be taken seriously in more affluent neighborhoods. Their homes are abysmal in some areas, but those who want to help haven’t the means, and those who could help haven’t the give-a-damn. They are the eternal second-class citizen- always underfoot, never quite good enough.
On the other hand, there are a lot of areas throughout the country where law enforcement officers are trying to remain involved in the communities around them. They put their lives on the line every single day for people whom they don’t even know, people who probably wish them ill, people who are hurting, people who are scared, and even for people that are deviant. They get up every day and leave behind the families that they love. They miss every holiday, every other birthday, every get-together with old friends, and countless other life moments, all in the name of duty to the people that they have sworn to serve and protect. They get to know the people in their communities, and strive to associate better experiences with the name “police officer.” These men and women, who are large in number, are suffering because of the actions of a few reckless officers who have disgraced the badge.
And so, I find myself torn somewhere between supporting my L.E.O. (Law Enforcement Officer) and creating a safe haven for him when we’re together, along with trying to support and empathize with those who are still living in oppressed areas of the country, yearning to be treated humanely. My fear, is that the media at large, and the leaders that are responsible for representing the oppressed, will continue to feed off of the anger and rage that is being felt by the black community. Instead of encouraging people to take their fight to the courts, they are taking to the streets and disrupting or damaging the neighborhoods around them. What may start out as peaceful protesting can quickly turn in to raging rioting, as was the case in Ferguson, MO. Stopping traffic and flipping cars does not solve anything. Setting businesses ablaze and looting does not “stick-it-to-the-man,” it only takes down your neighbor. Trying to pick fights with Police Officers in the streets will only cause more arrests and unnecessary pain. As painful of a reality as it may be, responding to hate with more hate doesn’t solve anything.
While we wait with the rest of the nation with baited breath, it is my hope that the protests that continue to occur will remain peaceful and safe, for all parties involved. At the end of the day, whether you are black or white or otherwise, we are all human. We all have loved ones in our lives whom we want to come home to at the end of the day. We are all on this journey of life together, and even though we may not always agree along the way, it is essential to our survival as a city and as a nation to still respect and honor one another- which also means admitting when we have wronged one another and atoning for our actions.
I truly wish the best for those who are out in the streets today, making their voices heard. I sincerely hope that our leaders will invoke real change in our city and in this Nation, so all citizens can feel safe when approached by authorities, and not live in fear within their own communities and homes. I also pray for the safety of the Officers who are on the ground, facing unimaginable amounts of stress and strife as they try to serve their communities during these highly turbulent times.
Finally, I wish the best for all of the other families out there who are waiting to hear the sound of Velcro coming off when their L.E.O. comes home; I know nothing puts me more at ease when I hear that sound!
Until next time, my friends!