I don't know what I'm supposed to do or say in these situations.
So in turn I choose not to watch the videos, I choose not to follow the cases, and I choose to stay quiet.
I don't feel as though i'm someone in a position to have an opinion about all this.
This is not to say I don't feel a certain way about what I see. It turns my stomach and it scares me. Because only being afraid of receiving a speeding ticket is no longer enough, I'm now afraid of loosing my life. Cue eye-rolls from people who question my "blackness".
My early opinions were along the lines of "Well if they just listened..." "If they cooperated..." "If they watched their tone..." The way I saw it, most people of color lacked a respect for law enforcement. But now these things no longer apply. Now even cooperating can get you shot. What is respect if it's bred from fear?
I refused to believe that cops could be so cruel and downright evil. I grew up with an Uncle on the force, and a stepfather who I'm pretty sure still is (but is no longer in my life). I couldn't picture one of them, or one of their friends and co-workers, killing someone in cold blood.
Despite these things, I'm fighting an internal battle. Do I stand by my honest opinion that the lack of respect breeds hostility, or do I stand by the proof so far that they just hate us?
My blackness has been questioned across the board form the way I dress, to how I talk, and to the things I like. But I am black. My upbringing and personality being different doesn't mean I'm an alien to my own race.
But I do wish I could understand them better.
I wish certain media prejudices and things I see with my own eyes didn't turn me off to indulging further into my "culture". Because If I did understand more than I do, I'd have an opinion...a valid one at that.
Once again cue the people who will bash me for choosing to keep my distance.
While avoiding being placed in a stereotype, negative or true (as ALL stereotypes come from some truth) I already am placed in others. The Oreo, or the county girl, or whatever other names I acquired and categories I fall into. It is this division that shuts me up.
I don't feel as though I have the right to speak on what I see. I don't truly understand the struggles as I grew up away from them. I do, however, have the right to share in the pain and fear.
I have the right to let my heart break.
I have the right to wonder if someone I care about will be next.
I have the right to wonder if it'll be me.