Deafening Silence: White Silence and Alton Sterling


This. Break the silence.

(Excellent words, but not mine. Re-blogged from another writer)

 

Form Follows Function

I want to start by being very specific about who I am talking to; this post is meant for people who look like me, those of us with white skin.

Many of you woke up this morning and heard the news about Alton Sterling, the 37 year old man who was shot and killed by the police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The sickening feeling in your stomach probably hit you hard as you watched the cell phone footage of a police officer charging and tackling Sterling to the ground. You knew what was coming next. And, within seconds you saw it: the police officer mounts Sterling like a UFC fighter. There is no confrontation. No struggle. Sterling is subdued and then another officer yells “Gun. Gun.” The officer on top of Sterling pulls his gun and within seconds fires multiple rounds killing Alton Sterling.

This morning my Facebook feed…

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No, You’re Not Imagining It: 3 Ways Racial Microaggressions Sneak into Our Lives — Everyday Feminism


We are NOT Post-Racial. Hard to look at? I'll bet it's harder to be on the receiving end-ALL the time.
We are NOT Post-Racial. Hard to look at? I’ll bet it’s harder to be on the receiving end-ALL the time.

I posted this piece on my Facebook page as well. The truth and civility with which it was written are stunning.  I encourage you to read every word, even when it feels a little uncomfortable, even when you recognize that there might be things that need to change in your paradigm, the worldview you were raised to find acceptable, and/or your own behavior.

Thanks to Everyday Feminism and Anni Liu for the amazing essay.

Peace, friends.

Click the link below to read this eye-opening piece.

No, You’re Not Imagining It: 3 Ways Racial Microaggressions Sneak into Our Lives — Everyday Feminism.

Speak up, even when it's scary. Staying silent so as not to 'rock the boat?' Another Microagression.
Speak up, even when it’s scary. Staying silent so as not to ‘rock the boat?’ Another Microagression.

I remember Randall


I remember a small, wiry boy with locs, who bounced into my classroom as a five year old. He sang with gusto, was a class clown, and made me laugh even when he was disrupting my ‘teacher’s flow.’

I remember his big round eyes that took everything in. I remember an infectious, impish grin that showed that he got the joke. I remember him sometimes wanting to sing in my chorus, sometimes not; when he did, all eyes turned to the skinny boy with the big smile and saucer eyes that peeked through the floppy, beautiful locs.

I remember watching him run 5k races with his up-and-down stride that still managed to propel him forward. I remember every hug, every high-five, and every field trip. What I don’t remember is anything in him that would cause him to take his own life before his 20th birthday. Rest in Peace, Randall; I hope you know how much you were loved.

My lessons from this? Always listen to every kid. There’s a girl I spend time with at the school bus stop every morning. She has a habit of telling me every detail of every minute of her life each day, while standing so close that I can feel her breath (if you know me, you know that I’m a toucher/hugger and my personal space cushion is very small, so if this is making me uneasy, you KNOW she’s too close for comfort!). This week I’ve made a real effort to pay close attention to her, to take slow deep breaths when I feel my space encroached and to just relax. I wonder: if a few more people had listened to Randall, would that have made a difference?

It also was, as these tragedies tend to be, a mighty perspective check. Really, when things like this are happening, is whatever I’m worrying/arguing/bitching about really a 10 on the emotional Richter scale? Of course not. Randall’s battle wasn’t about healthcare, partisan politics, talk radio ping-pong, global warming, or who deserved a Nobel Peace Prize. Randall’s battle was about survival, and he lost. So did the world.

Maybe, the next time any of us feel like criticizing someone, making an unkind remark, or flying off the handle about something, we could stop and ask ourselves, “Is this a 10?” If not, maybe it doesn’t need to be released into the universe. Maybe a deep breath, a quick perspective check, and a prayer would restore patience and compassion. Who knows?  That peaceful pause might save a life.

Peace, friends.