I was on a Zoom call with two colleagues today, and it began with a discussion about the protesting across the U.S. My male colleague said, “I don’t understand why they are protesting. The cop got arrested.”
My female colleague and I looked at each other. We had to address this in the most civil way possible.
Me: Getting arrested is not enough. It was third degree murder when it should have been 1st degree. And it’s not a guarantee he will get convicted. That doesn’t even include the other three cops involved. Then there’s Ahmaud Arbery getting chased down, shot and killed, and us finding out about it two months later? What is that about? And then there’s the long history of black men unarmed getting shot by the police that has been going on for hundreds of years. How can you answer for any of that?
My female colleague: Well, I have a black fiance who I’m going to be marrying, and if we procreate, that means… I believe, that I will have black babies. So, I have a black future husband and black future babies, so I am personally invested in solving this ongoing issue.
My male colleague’s face was hard to read. He looked a bit defeated. He simply responded with, “Well, I hope justice is served.”
I hope it is, too, but I also wish that he would acknowledge that his lack of understanding is 100 percent his fault. Who knows if anything that we said got through to him. It’s not up to other people to educate him, particularly people of color. It’s his own personal failing as a human being to not seek out resources, whether that’s a GOOGLE SEARCH, news articles, blogs, opinion pieces, books, documentaries, movies, NETFLIX or HBO. The digital world we live in makes it so damn easy to find information, but the key part of finding the information is to SEEK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF. And if you choose to whine and whinge, insist that you “just don’t understand,” then you are part of the problem and will only exacerbate the oppression.
I’m sure he got off the Zoom call and ran to his wife, complaining that “My liberal colleagues ganged up on me!” Well, I’m not going to apologize for hurting his white fragile feelings because this is beyond politics. This is a human rights issue, and if you do not care, you are not human. Clean and simple.