Originally published at DidYouCheckFirst
Apparently, protests about police brutality and the lack of justice are an inconvenience to some of us.
A white friend of mine recently posted a video in which demonstrators got way out of hand. Their behavior was inexcusable and included flipping off officers, spitting toward them (not ‘on’ them, as far as I can tell), yelling obscenities into their faces, and unforgivably throwing objects like barricade saw horses that hit officers.
Make no mistake, I do not condone any of that behavior.
But, as part of the post, he asked how stopping traffic was even a form of protest and, as if on cue to prove white privilege, asked, “Is it your right to infringe on mine” to get where he wants to go?
He went on to suggest – presumably to those in the video – that they volunteer their personal information to police so that, “…if they ever do try to dial 911, they will get a recording that says “We’re sorry but since you have voiced your disgust with the police department so vehemently and do not see the value of the services we can provide, then we are unable to respond to your call for help. However, I’m sure that your fellow protesters will be over to protect you as soon as you can call all of them. Have a nice day!”
How is it possible that we’ve sunk to this? How is that we who have so much and yet refuse to acknowledge it have so little empathy for our fellow citizens and our fellow human beings who have less and who must still struggle against individual and societal bias and racism?
I think this TruthDig article, “Seeing Ferguson Clearly: 12 Double Standards That Expose White Supremacy,” by Sonali Kolhatkar helps to explain it. IMO, it’s a must-read for all white Americans who still doubt or are in outright denial that white privilege exists.
It’s also for those who like to play the “reverse racism” card. We whites are not the victims. To those who believe we are or that reverse racism is a thing, put down the remote and step away from Fox News.
We whites have never spent a single, solitary second in another skin color other than the color that has ruled this country since its founding. That makes it impossible for us to have the same understanding of what America looks like or how it (meaning we) treats a person of color. We can never know what it’s like to be anything but white. What we can do is to look clearly, honestly, and with empathy at the reasons why some of our fellow Americans lash out from under the oppression and threats they feel everyday that we never will.
I’m not advocating violence or destruction of property. I’m advocating for justice and for peaceful outrage over the injustices that African Americans in particular still experience in a so-called “post-racial” America.
The evidence is all around us. Just read the TruthDig article and look at recent events.
The police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner are free. Frank Phillips, a white Knox County Sheriff’s officer, was immediately fired when pictures of him choking a white college student were published.
Michael Brown’s body was left in the street for hours. Eric Garner was never given any medical attention even after his last words, “I can’t breath,” were repeated over and over before he fell silent forever from an illegal choke hold indisputably caught on video. Except for when officer Phillips had his hands on his throat, 21-year-old white college student, Jarod Dotson, was never in mortal peril, yet Phillips was fired.
Officers Wilson and Pantaleo were not formally disciplined nor fired, and they aren’t going to trial for their actions. Wilson was paid “mid to high” six figures for his interview with Stephanopoulos, and reports are circulating that his supporters have raised half a million dollars for him.
Meanwhile, black St. Louis County police officer, Dawon Gore, was arrested and charged with second degree assault a few months before officer Wilson shot Michael Brown. Gore faces 7 years in prison if convicted for striking a man on the hand with his baton.
The TruthDig article helped me, a middle-aged, college-educated, suburban, white guy, to gain a deeper appreciation of what the double standards of race in this country look like and feel like to others.
I suggest everyone read it, especially if you “fit the description” I just gave.