I do not understand people who do not talk politics because politics is killing me and people like me. A while ago, I wanted to share a blog article I wrote in a Facebook group. Two of the bloggers responded that they would not read or comment on the article because it touched on politics. I attempted to explain the article wasn’t political, it discussed business. They insisted that because it touched politics, they would not read it.
Politics is all around us in one form or another. Whether you are talking about the Presidential election or what teachers will teach your kids at school, you are dealing with politics. A few years ago, news reports are full of a story about Terence Crutcher, a black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma who was killed by police on September 16, 2016. Once again the responses to the shooting are politically based. According to some sources, initial police reports claimed that Mr. Crutcher refused to obey commands to raise his hands. However, dash cam video shows a different story. The video shows that Mr. Crutcher was tasered and shot by police while his hands were raised and he was not reaching for anything
The police officer who shot Mr. Crutcher, was not charged in his death. As is usual in these cases, she was given a paid leave of absence. Later she was paid to give speeches about how officers deal with the aftermath of these types of crimes. Some argued she was trying to teach cops how to get away with murder. Cases like this one are all about politics.
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This week, there is a lot of buzz talking about the Netflix documentary, “When They See Us.” The documentary tells the case of the boys who became known as the Central Park Five. These are boys who were tricked and coerced into signing confessions for a rape they did not commit. After years in prison, these innocent, poor, black boys, now men, were released from prison. The police and district attorneys use tricks, lies with criminal suspects. They are allowed to stroke fears of dangerous black boys on the loose. When this happens, we need to talk about politics.
It’s not just in movies, it is every day life.
The news is so full of reports about black people being shot by white police officers and white vigilantes that these stories are commonplace. During the past week, a twenty-one year old woman in Georgia claimed to have witnessed a black man in a hit and run incident. She followed him in her car, blocked his car with hers, and ordered him out of his car at gunpoint. When the man was shot to death, she claimed that he took her gun and shot himself. There are some people say that we cannot believe the video and that we must wait for more reports, investigations, and determinations to be made.
Others say, that unarmed black people being shot tell a complete story and nothing else needs to be said. No matter what point of view you take, politics are involved and we need to talk about them. When we look at the people in the White House and the hate they spew each day, politics are involved and we have to talk about it.
We see politics when police shoot unarmed black men and get paid time off from work. At every job I ever had, I was subject to being fired for being rude to customers – the people I was hired to serve. Time and time again, I look at the news and see police officers get paid time off killing the people they are hired to serve. There is something wrong with this situation. The police are supposed to serve the public, not kill unarmed citizens. We must talk about politics because politics determines who our chiefs of police are. Politics determine who picks the district attorneys and judges. They determine who runs the criminal justice system and decides what happens to those killing unarmed black people.
I am a black woman living in the United States. My husband is a black man and I have four black children. The police are killing black people and the political system in this country allows them to get away with it. I cannot ignore politics. Nor can I afford to put my head in the sand and pretend these things aren’t happening or that they are not important. This is because if I do, it could cost me my life. It could cost me the life of someone I love.
Privilege allows people to sit back and ignore politics. It must be nice to be able to ignore the horrific things that are going on in the world because they are political. I cannot bury my head in the sand and say, “It’s politics, I don’t talk about politics.” If I don’t talk politics and make changes at all levels of government, I cannot guarantee that my family and I will survive.
I understand it is hard to hear about the police shootings. It is tiring to have debates about whether the police shootings of unarmed black people is justified. If you are a person who is tired of hearing about it and debating it so you don’t talk politics, stop. Stop and think about how hard it is for people to live it. I am living it. My husband is living it. My children are living it. I know I am tired of people claiming to be good people refusing to talk politics. It is tiring for people to say they want to hear “the whole story” refusing to talk politics. We are tired of people claiming not to be racists, not to be bigots and not to be hate-filled doing nothing while people who look like me are killed.
This is the United States of America so you can ignore politics all you want. While you are ignoring everything, don’t forget that ignoring politics is a luxury that many people do not have because it can kill us.
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