Yes, I’ve heard and (kinda) followed the police-involved shooting of Justine Damond, a white woman. And to be honest, I don’t really care.
Call me callous. Call me a lot of names. I seriously don’t care. Why? Because America doesn’t give a flying fuck when black people are killed by police. Why the hell should I cry for a white person who was a victim of the same murderous co-ed fraternity who would shoot me without a slightest bit of restraint because black men scare the shit out of them?
Damond, however, was the perfect victim, an innocent victim, at least that’s what her family’s lawyer said. And why? Simple. She was a white woman, the epitome of innocence America must care for.
The Root explains:
Many black people resent that she is receiving such heartfelt reactions because we never get them. Media outlets were too busy investigating Sandra Bland’s criminal past to post Facebook posts recognizing the tragedy of her death. Police chiefs don’t get fired when black people are harmed, and mayors rarely—if ever—jump ahead of police investigations to say that a black person’s death at the hands of one of their cops should not have happened. And we’re never considered the “innocent victim.”
Damond is receiving compassion, and rightfully so. But what about us? Why can’t society hurt for us as it does for Damond? The answer is simple: America has told black Americans, “Fuck you since 1619 Jamestown” because our black skin does not register in white America’s psyche as worthy of mourning.
That hurts. A lot.
But we know that America doesn’t think we’re hurting, or capable of being hurt. Many people think our suffering is imagined and will barf up weak-ass explanations or will just make you feel as though you’re crazy when you try to explain. In as many words as possible, they’ll tell you that they don’t give a fuck about you, your pain or your life.
Yet, they act as if they’re lost as to why we start giving no fucks about them. The Root’s article continues:
Some of us express that hurt with indifference. Others harden to the world around us and economize our feelings. God may tell us to love indiscriminately, but our human condition sometimes tells us not to give a damn about white people who, historically, have not opened their hearts to us. It’s a perfectly reasonable reaction. Black Americans are a heartbroken people, and some of us no longer have the capacity to express grief beyond our race. That’s not black people’s fault. That’s what unchecked white supremacy can do to its victims.
There will be those who will say, “We can’t be as heartless as our oppressors,” or “Fighting for justice shouldn’t be based on race.” I disagree. Before black people can extend compassion to people outside of our race, I find it imperative that we heal spiritually first. We owe no one our empathy. No matter how much we suffer, we are expected to dig deeper into our humanity to feel for those who cannot feel for us until they are hurt.
So, the bottom line is that if White America wants us to start caring about unjust murders of people like Damond, they have to start caring about us and the shit we go through. No exceptions and no excuses. If not, they shouldn’t expect us to shed tears for them, but their culture of white privilege permits them to do so.
Excuse us while we roll our eyes while we try to find ways to survive in this wilderness and treat the wounds they inflict upon us on a daily basis.