A true story that I’ve wanted to share for a while
Our social media feeds are filled w/ noise right now-righteous anger because of the murder of George Floyd, comments about the riots, opinions on which President is to blame, debate on which lives matter, etc. And I don’t want to add to the noise. But I want to tell you a true story. . .
First let me say that in the past, I have found the term “black lives matter” a bit offensive (but stay w/ me-I understand a bit more now)-mostly because I have always believed that ALL lives matter. I’m a one race/human race-we all bleed the same & God created us ALL EQUAL kind of girl. I also have struggled w/ the term “white privilege”, because my life was definitely not privileged growing up. My parents were a one-income family on a Police Officer’s salary. We were a family of six and were a one-car family. The life of an Officer and his family is not easy. A criminal who disliked my father set our car on fire one night while we were sleeping w/ hopes that it would blow up. From jail, she then sent threats to my mother in the form of letters stating that she knew the route my sister & I took to school. I know that side of life-the side of watching your Police Officer Dad-run into a burning house to save your neighbors. The life of a Police Officer and his family doesn’t feel very privileged, especially when as a child you were handed a book to read that was called, “My Father was a Policeman” and it’s about a Dad dying in the line of duty. But there’s more to my story. . .
About 10-15 years ago I was helping out a friend who is a single Mom. She had an injured child at school & a broken down vehicle. I was a stay at home, homeschooling Mom, so the girls & I helped out. After I took her son to the Dr. and then dropped him off back at his home, I headed home. As I was driving, I saw the police lights flashing behind me. I knew I wasn’t speeding, so I was scared & confused; but I pulled over, because that’s what one is supposed to do. The black officer who stopped me was rude and unfriendly (please don’t give up – I’m not done). It was so extremely apparent that he did not like this middle aged white woman in an Audi in his neighborhood. I asked him why he stopped me. He told me that my tags were expired. I explained and showed him the crack on my windshield. I told him my car was legal, but that my new sticker wasn’t on the windshield because I had an appointment the very next day to get it fixed and that the new sticker would be put on then. In my nervousness, I could not locate the sticker in my car, even though I knew it was there. I also knew he could check that on his computer. He went back to his vehicle to write me a ticket. I think every person reading this can probably say that they’ve experienced bias at least once in their lifetime. While he was writing up my ticket (which, of course, was thrown out at court since it was a bogus ticket), I found my sticker – and here’s the thing. . . I was so excited to show him that I jumped out of my car!! In his anger & bias, he wrote the ticket anyway.
But here’s the part that needs the most attention
All of the years since then, it has not been lost on me that if I had been a black male, I would have been perceived as a threat, and I could have been shot and/or killed-and people wouldn’t have batted an eye. I jumped out of my car and approached the officer w/ something in my hand-he had every right to protect himself; because at that point, he didn’t know what was in my hand. So privilege-for those that struggle grasping the concept-is that I, a middle aged white woman, jumped out of my car w/ something in my hand and approached an Officer. . . and lived to tell about it!! I had the luxury of making a stupid decision based on my nerves. . . The black sons of my friends wouldn’t have that luxury. I have many friends with black sons-they have to teach their children that if they do exactly what I did, they will most likely be shot.
We cannot not allow our brothers and sisters to be ignored!!! I realize that until we get serious about admitting that there is a real problem AND addressing the heart of that problem, that my black friends don’t feel like their lives matter. . . and ALL lives DON’T matter until #blacklivesmatter.