So this morning an old friend from college sent me a message asking what is the desired outcome of the protests and riots. What is the endgame goal? This is my response to him and any others.
In a better America, everyone just lives their normal lives. Opportunities aren’t based on skin color but rather on merit, skill and if the person is the right fit. People should be able to buy a home wherever they want. (Look up Redlining) Everyone should be able to go on trips or eat at a restaurant without having to check how they treat black people. Someone having a certain name should not be a reason to throw away their job resume and application. In a better world, no one should be shot by a civilian that was following them. If everyone is entitled to a trial by jury, why are police shooting someone that is suspected of a crime? Police have raided the wrong homes leaving dead people behind. Those people get to continue working after their insincere apologies. In a better world people get treated fairly. Everyone deserves respect. In a better world terrorist groups like the kkk don’t exist anymore because people stopped pretending that they don’t exist.
Our desired goal is to just live. We want to jog in a neighborhood without being accused of criminal activity. We want to go bird watching. We want to cash a large check because we are successful and not have the police called on us. We want our 12 year old sons to turn 13 instead of being shot while playing outside. Our 14 year old daughters should not experience being tackled to the ground for attending a pool party. We don’t want to be followed at the department stores. We don’t want to be shot when we’re asking for help on the side of the road. We don’t want drugs planted on us so a cop can justify stopping us only to shoot us after. We have innocent black people that have spent decades in jail. How many times will a white mother murder her children and claim that a black man took them? We want to go to the doctor or hospital when we have pain and be given assistance without people assuming we don’t have insurance. We want pain medication that actually manages pain. Black woman want a doctor and nurse that listen during labor and delivery. These are just a fraction of things that we want to change.
The riots are from centuries of mistreatment. We are angry and tired. People tell us to be peaceful and when we are it’s still met with criticism. MLK tried to be peaceful and he still got a bullet to the head. People complained about kneeling during the national anthem. That song has several verses and it wasn’t made for Black people. Also, not all military folks have an issue with kneeling. Some fully support it. Then people decided to march and were met with more complaints. When and how can we say what we feel? We’re also tired of white people saying that racism is gone or racism is being kept alive by black folks. If it was gone then oppression would have stopped but it hasn’t. Racism will only end when the oppressors stop oppressing. We’re tired of being told to “get over it” or go back to Africa. Honestly, much of the continents have been colonized by white people and Black people outside of the United States are marching too along with other people of color.
In our endgame we can attend college and receive an education without having to worry about biases from fellow students and the faculty. Florida Christian College was four of the most difficult years of my life. I kept a smile on my face but there were dark times. Even the years following my graduation, I still found myself removing people from my friends list on Facebook because of their racism. Election season was particularly terrible. It’s unfortunate but I’ve encountered a lot of racism from white Christians. They think fostering or adopting black children, spending a week or two in Mexico or Haiti and having two black friends gives them the right to speak for us or about us but it doesn’t. Some people think that once they spend money on a black person they own them. I’ve actually argued with a man that had a thought complex like that.
We just want to live our lives normally without extra thoughts behind it. Imagine if Black people gave into their anger every time we suffered at the hands of a racist person. We keep ourselves in line. It’s an unacceptable way to live but we do it. We help each other move forward. We teach our 7 year olds about racism because they’re going to experience it. We tell our kids how to answer people. We tell our kids to be home before dark for more than one reason. My father and and my brother are big black men. They don’t go out at night unless it is a necessity. Why should we have to live like that? Black people are afraid to call the police even when they need help. You asked for our goal. Our goal is for everything I wrote above to stop happening to us.
If you want to know how to help, talk to the people in your life. Family, friends, coworkers etc. Someone you know is probably racist or prejudice. Help them see the error of their ways.
This response was written and originally posted on 6/3/2020 on Facebook. This is being shared with the author’s permission.
Ruth can be reached at RChoute5@gmail.com or blerdisdaword on Instagram.