Tag Archives: prejudice

To stand, to kneel, to teach

teach

Many students and NFL players are following in the footsteps of Colin Kaepernick who has chosen to kneel during the national anthem before football games. This should speak loudly to the fact that people are in need of an outlet for their frustrations with our society and the areas of our country in which justice is lacking. Though frustrations isn’t even close to being a strong enough word.

william-wilberforceThere are so many injustices people are battling each and every day and racial injustice is most definitely a big one. People are being shot and killed and so much of this is coming from a place of fear. I do not fear that my two white sons will be shot and killed should they ever find themselves in close proximity to a police officer. I do not fear that my children will be frisked or searched or watched if they are standing with a group waiting for a bus. This IS happening with young black men. This is something their mothers fear.

I wish with all my heart and soul that all humans were treated equally. It hurts. It hurts to think about these things. Why does a black man have to consider the clothing they wear before they walk down the street? Racial profiling should not exist. Judges should not be saying they are doing a black person a favor by putting them in jail and white people should not be placed on probation for the very same crimes! It’s not just African Americans being profiles, Hispanics struggle, Native Americans, as well as Middle Eastern. No legislator should ever say the words “black parents need to teach their children to respect police.” And black parents shouldn’t have to have discussions with their babies on how to “survive police encounters” due to the excessive amounts of police violence happening.

Does any of this have anything to do with the national anthem? Are we not the land of the free and the home of the brave? Maybe. Maybe not.

be-openmindedFor me, when I hear the national anthem I think of the many battles heroic service men and women have fought in order to keep our country free and safe. To me standing for the national anthem is something which makes me feel good, I’m showing support for my country, I’m showing support for the many people who have fought for the freedoms we have. The injustices which exist in other parts of the world are so horrific every single day with countless people dying and no one ever knowing their name. People fleeing their country as bombs are falling and bullets are flying just outside their doors. When I stand to the national anthem those are the thoughts I have and those are the feelings I have, this is an emotional thing for me.

For Colin Kaepernick it means something different. When he chooses not to stand it makes me sad because I see him dividing himself from his team and I see him choosing not to stand in respect of those who have died to serve our country. But that is NOT why he has chosen to kneel. He isn’t purposefully deciding to be disrespectful at all, that was not the catalyst and when you think about it, the people who have fought and are fighting for our country are also fighting for our right to the very liberty of being able to choose to kneel, stand, sit, do the chicken dance, right? For Colin Kaepernick, I believe he is choosing to kneel because it has gotten attention and when people ask why he isn’t standing he gets an opportunity for dialogue. He gets a chance to speak about racial injustices and be a voice for an issues which is very real and very hard to talk about. Do I feel he could travel to colleges and schools and churches and talk about this via other platforms which might be more effective, yes? Why? Because the people he needs to reach with his message are not just the oppressed.

comfortzonesWhether he cares to or not, he needs to be able to reach the population of people who are furious with him for not standing during the anthem, because I believe it is likely that many of them “do not get it.” Often times they are the people who need to hear a different perspective, they need to see through different eyes. But as soon as you kneel during the anthem, they close their eyes, they close their ears and they close their hearts to your story. Should they be so narrow minded? No. But like I said, the national anthem is an emotional thing for millions of people, many who have lost family and friends who serve.

So see, there are so many multiple facets in this discussion. So many opportunities to teach, share, listen and come together in a new understanding of what is going on, but instead we have created yet another dividing line in our society. Those who stand and those who kneel. This has not fixed the problem. I wish we could find common, middle ground so we can work towards solutions together.

Policies. Myths. Facts. Baltimore.

We talk about myths and facts in class a lot and how societal perceptions are very often based on myth. A lot of people think white privilege is a myth. It is not. I learned a great deal from one of my favorite professors, Dr. Norma Gaines-Hanks. Amazing woman. I had a three-hour class with her (HDFS 235: Survey in Child & Family Services)  and never once felt bored or anxious to leave. I went into the class incredibly naive. I’m sure there are many things which I am still naive about or ignorant to, but I feel thanks to her class I can actually see why there are people in Baltimore, who feel like rioting is the only thing they can do to be heard.

Now, it might seem pretty ludicrous to embed a Fresh Prince episode into this post but it’s fitting. Carlton feels the police were just doing their jobs when they were pulled over. Will explains to him later in the episode that they were stopped because they were two black men driving in an expensive car in a nice neighborhood. The police officer did not believe them that they were given permission to drive the car. He arrested them both. In the clip below you will see the scene between Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv and the police officers in the station.

Facts:

  • Black drivers (12.3%) were about three times as likely as white drivers (3.9%) and about two times as likely as Hispanic drivers (5.8%) to be searched during a traffic stop in 2008. (Bureau of Justice Statistics)

I had a long talk with a friend last night because I was hearing about the riots in Baltimore surrounding the tragedy of Freddie Gray’s death and I was upset to say the least. Just as I was upset with the rioting in Ferguson and in New York.

This is the fact…

imagesMy white son is less likely to be pulled over in a predominately black neighborhood than someone’s black son would be pulled over in a predominantly white neighborhood. Why?

My white son is less likely to have to get out of their car to be searched at a traffic stop than someone’s black son. Why?

I am not a police officer. I do not want to be a police officer. I have respect for authority and I know that I could not emotionally handle the responsibility they face every day. Not all police officers are bad people. I don’t believe police officers wake up in the morning thinking they hope they get to shoot their gun.

But I do believe there is a huge racial injustice happening in our country and it has been happening for far too long and I wish I knew how to fix it. But I don’t. It shouldn’t be a problem.

All lives matter. Every single one of us is someone’s son or daughter. Every life means something to someone.

Would the media go on and on about a peaceful protest in Baltimore? No. Probably not. There were groups of people holding signs and protesting peacefully yesterday but did anyone see pictures or videos of them online or tv yesterday?

Why does it take more violence to get attention? And what will this type of attention solve? Why is this a debate which is spanning over a century!?

Quotation-Patrick-Lindsay-justice-support-Meetville-Quotes-281I am a 34-year old white female. There have been times in which I was discriminated against because I am white, there are times I was discriminated against because I’m female. I can count those times on my two hands. I have a black friend who has been pulled over 7 times in one year. 7 times! Failure to yield when there was no traffic coming is one of the reasons he was given. Pulled over for a brake light being out and then asked to step out of the car because he told the officer he knew the brake light was out and he hasn’t been able to fix it yet.

martin-luther-king-jr-quote-unarmed-truthI heard on the radio this morning a black woman saying she has taught her sons how to talk and how to dress so that they are less likely to be in a tricky situation. While I am grateful she is helping her sons to learn skills to help them grow into respectful young men I do not agree that their clothes or the way they talk should be what decides if they get arrested or not.

Equate it this way. When someone tells a rape victim that they are partly responsible for their rape because they had on a tight outfit… is that an appropriate statement? Hell no. Do you see what I mean here?

USA_2009._Percent_of_adult_males_incarcerated_by_race_and_ethnicityThis is happening all across the country. It isn’t just Ferguson, Baltimore or New York. We hear about those instances because someone has to die and then riot.

The disparity is real. This is not a myth.

Consider Dearborn, Missouri.

More than half of the people Dearborn police arrested in 2011 and 2012 were black, according to reports they submitted to the FBI. By comparison, about 4% of the city’s residents are black, as are about a quarter of the people who live in Metropolitan Detroit. Over those two years, the department reported arresting 4,500 black people – 500 more than lived in the city. As a result, the arrest rate for blacks, compared with the city’s population, was 26 times higher than for people of other races.

One thing we can do is to make sure that all agencies report complete demographic data so we can get a more complete picture of the disparity. Not all agencies report race. If this is a nationwide issue then this should be a nationwide policy.

12-300x195But how do we show why someone is accused or pulled over? If there are 25 white men pulled over in a week and 20 black men pulled over. What are the chances that the 20 black men were pulled over due to a stereotype versus the white men and how do we collect that type of data? Is it possible to get that data objectively? Probably not. But without that type of data the percent distribution of total arrests may not show a clear picture. Data sets are incomplete without this information.

This post is getting long and rambly.  But this is an issue which is really eating at me.

Rioting is wrong. There is no way throwing a chair through a window, burning down a senior center and a CVS and blowing up cars will ever be the right thing to do. Rioting is only going to cause more problems. Rioting is going to force authority figures to point at the rioters which are not the root of the problem. We need to work together in a more peaceful way to get to the bottom of this issue and find justice.