When does it stop?

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.