Thursday, July 07, 2016

What Beyoncé Said (Plus What I Think)

Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Those are just the latest two names the United States of America can shamefully add to the disturbingly growing list of black men and women and children carelessly and needlessly gunned down by police officers – the very people who should be protecting them.

And that’s the f---in’ truth.

Regardless of what Sterling or Castile were doing at the time officers stopped them in Baton Rouge, La., and Falcon Heights, Minn., (more than likely without cause), those men did not deserve to be treated subhumanly, much less get shot dead.

In part because of this disgraceful trend, entertainers have begun loudly speaking up in kind and against the grave injustice of essentially getting a bullet because black. Last month, actor Jesse Williams (TV’s Grey’s Anatomy) eloquently spoke out against the practice of men in blue across America not deescalating potentially violent situations where black folk are concerned, and today, in the wake of the back-to-back slayings of Sterling and Castile, Beyoncé added her powerful voice to the conversation.

“We don’t need sympathy,” the LEMONADE-maker said in a statement titled Freedom” posted on her website today. “We need everyone to respect our lives. We’re going to stand up as a community and fight against anyone who believes that murder or any violent action by those who are sworn to protect us should consistently go unpunished.

Hear, hear.

I am not black, but I agree. And I agree.

As a minority (for now) in America, I find it ridiculous, upsetting, and unacceptable that time and time again, black men get gunned down by bad cops. Two mornings in a row we have woken up to such news because of bad cops.

Bad cops. Not the so-called bad-apple cops who felt like their lives were in danger or whatever they’ve been arguing but bad cops who more than likely haven’t been adequately and sensitively trained. Look, I get it: police work is hard work, that is for sure. Some of these bad cops – and for sure all the cops involved in these deaths – have made doing the wrong thing look like the only recourse when it was not, when it is not. Their ability, and that of their superiors, to deescalate the post-shooting messes created by these action is incredibly insulting, btw, especially in light of the fact that so many times these...quote-unquote mistakes have gone unanswered, well...that’s the issue here, is it not?

Anyway. Bad cops. Bad cops who carry on their shoulders and in their heads and heads a history of racism. Who unbeknownst to them practice sexism. Homophobia. And now, thanks to a certain presidential candidate, more and more xenophobia. A culture of it’s OK to abuse others because, hey, we have a badge and y’all better get and listen.

It is absurd that the first nation in the world doesn’t have gun control, as well as leaders who politicize a hate crime like the one perpetrated in Orlando last month to deflect its shortcomings in the areas that clearly should matter most because they affect their people. All of their people.

Foreign extremists are, indeed, a threat, but charity begins at home. American terrorism is an all-too-real fact based in a lack of understanding and respect that needs to be acknowledged and addressed.

Tonight, Dallas is bullet-ridden. I cannot know a whole lot about that situation yet because that situation is fluidly unfolding, but protestors had heavily gathered to voice their long-simmering frustration, and a sniper got to snipin’, targeting police officers.

That’s just as bad.

Dallas wasn’t where Sterling or Castile was shot. It is beyond-unfortunate that this has happened slash is happening. But, like with so many other horrible, commonplace events in our lives these days, no one can be surprised the cookie has crumbled this way.

You can only push people so far before they break. And some Americans have been pushing other Americans to the breaking point for a long, long time.

Beyoncé has a point. We gotta, “take a stand,” but not against one another but for one another.

My hope is we can do this without violence.

My wish is that those who should know better get to learn and do better. 

This homegrown violence – born from ignorance (hello, bring back education!) – has to stop.

It has to stop before it stops us.


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