I got onto Twitter tonight to be faced with yet another shooting. I don’t know if I should be happy these things are finally being publicized instead of shoved under the rug, or pissed off because of how they are being publicized. I’m seeing tweets about news reporters being afraid “black folks will act out”, and my friend being afraid. And honestly I can’t blame her. Not after everything I’ve seen in the news the last year or two.
What frustrates me is that this is yet another news item that will be turned into a “black vs white” thing by news casters, and some people in our communities. And yes, it might have been a hate crime (the police seem to think it was). But that’s not all it was.
These are our friends, our co-workers, are neighbors, our school mates. They are the people we sit beside on the bus, or play games with online. We talk to them, and enjoy their company, and work beside them. When this happens to them it is happening to us too, because they are part of our community!
This isn’t a black vs white thing. This isn’t just about race. This is about the safety of our children, EVERYONE’S children, in a country that perpetuates violence, jail, stigmas of being born poor, or ethnic, or anything other than a middle class white male.
When people take to the streets and demand justice it should be everyone in the community because this effects us all. If your neighbor doesn’t feel safe, if they don’t feel like they can trust the police, and their fellow neighbors, then that means you shouldn’t feel safe either. Not because they are going to get you, but because THAT’S YOUR NEIGHBOR! Treat them like it.
And I get that this is coming from a “privileged” white girl. I haven’t had to deal with a lot of the prejudice that others in our communities have. I have seen racism against me, but it is nothing on par to what some of my friends have seen. But women’s suffrage did not succeed because only women fought for it. They needed the help of their husbands, brothers, uncles and friends. Gay rights did not happen because only the LGBT community fought for them. They needed a community to stand beside them and help them.
So why aren’t we a community when it comes to race? Why are we white, black, latino, or whatever? Why can’t we just be one group, the american group, and stand up and say NO MORE! This is wrong. Treating anyone as less for any reason is wrong and we, as a community, won’t stand for it anymore.
You want to see the hate stop? You want to see the tension ease? You want to see the shootings, and extra jail time, and everything else stop? Stand up with your friends and co-workers. Stop making it “their problem” and realize that it’s yours too.
What happens to a society when 13% of your population has a 1-in-3 chance of going to prison? How is that helpful for the population as a whole? How does that grow the economy, or create jobs, or encourage the “american dream”? How does it make ANYONE feel safe if their friends and neighbors have a 1-in-3 shot of going to jail just because they are a little darker? How can anyone live with the fact that a black man is 21 times more likely to be shot be a police officer?
This is not okay! This needs to change. And the only way it will ever change is if we stop being black and white, and start being friends and neighbors.
While it isn’t the whole reason, one factor might be the most passionate people accepting (even forcing) divisive labels.
For example, instead of labelling themselves in favour of equality for all people, many label themselves feminists and then say feminism is about equality for all. And, on an intellectual level, people who have had this explained to them might think of the term in that way.
But people who haven’t had the explanation will read/hear/consider it as women’s rights not equal rights; and even those who know the definition will still be burdened with the unconscious’ habit of parsing gendered terms as gendered.
So, the labels – however unintentionally – support the idea of distinct groups not a single humanity.
Which is why I support human rights, not feminism. That and the hords of people who are now anti men because of what feminism had become.
It should all be human rights. We are all one big family. We all effect each other and the planet around us regardless of color, religion, culture, sex, or sexuality. And that’s all that should matter.
A connected bugbear is people calling me a bad feminist for claiming I am not one. I say I believe in equality above categories, they say that is feminism and I am a feminist, and I should call my belief that.
And I refrain from pointing out that they are claiming to understand my identity better than I do; the irony of which either amuses or irritates me depending on my mood and their tone.
You get it, Dave. You really do.
I’ve been attacked by too many people claiming they stand for feminism so I want nothing to do with that word. The very word is exclusive sounding, whatever the real meaning of it might have been before.