It has happened again. Another black life was taken at the hands of a white officer. Another black life. Another white officer. Samuel DuBose drove through town without his front license plate attached. He may or may not have had a driver’s license. He may or may not have had an open bottle of gin. The one thing he did have for certain was black skin.
Sandra Bland had black skin, but she also had a lit cigarette. Tamir Rice had a toy gun. Eric Garner sold loose cigarettes, Michael Brown stole from a convenience store and walked in the middle of the street, Trayvon Martin had a hoodie. And I can’t remember all of the others because there are too many names. So many goddamn names. And now they are all dead, and we are supposed to believe that they somehow brought it upon themselves, that somehow they were deserving of it.
These are the things we will hear and we know we will because we hear them every time it happens:
They should have cooperated with the officer.
We don’t know the whole story, we weren’t there.
Those poor police officers. They have such hard jobs.
They’re just playing the race card.
You’re defending a bunch of thugs.
Well, I heard he/she smoked weed, didn’t pay child support, was on probation, and any other minor offense that is somehow supposed to make us feel better about the fact that these people were murdered.
I could not watch the video of Samuel Dubose being stopped, then killed. I haven’t watched any of the videos because something inside me just isn’t capable of handling being witness to that. But today I listened to NPR as they recounted exactly what happened in detail and I pulled my car over and I wept. I don’t know why I wept so uncontrollably this time. After all, unlike the other cases, this officer is being charged with murder. I’m just not ready to claim that as a victory, though; it feels more like a fluke.
It’s going to happen again, and then it will happen some more, and I am angry and sad because I don’t know how we stop it. I don’t want to tell my daughter this has happened again because I fear already, at eight years old, she has become desensitized to these kinds of stories. And really, why shouldn’t she be? It’s dangerous to be desensitized, though, because that leads to not caring at all, and frankly we already have enough of that. So again I will sit her down and talk to her. She will know Samuel DuBose’s name. She will know that even though he won’t be the last, we will continue to speak out against these injustices; we have to be the voices for those who have been silenced.