It’s not okay anymore to deny police brutality. It’s not an acceptable response. If you do it out loud or silently by refusing to enter the conversation, the obvious outcome is that myself and others who see the reality you deny are going to deliberately cut you from our daily lives.
There’s a quantifiable amount of pain and anger and frustration and hopelessness people deal with on a daily basis due to the color of their skin. Pain, anger and frustration that you don’t experience because of the color of your skin. Your carefully curated social media account might be contributing to why you think for some reason that it’s your place or your prerogative to step in every time someone says police are out of control and say “Well, I don’t think things are like that,” when we have been shown over, and over, and over, and over again that they are. You aren’t wanted in any conversation where you deny the reality of a people’s experience.
Do some Googling, read up about police brutality and lynching and why the police were created in the first place, and don’t just blindly believe whatever talking points you hear on CNN or Fox or your uncle’s Facebook page. And if you have a friend who is a cop, understand that not every cop has to be bad in order for there to be this issue. But if a cop is denying that police are a part of the problem of police brutality, then yes, that is a bad cop.
For those of you who recognize how things are and don’t feel like it’s really your place to say anything about it, that it feels “too political” to speak up for people’s human rights, that’s not enough anymore either. When we as white people don’t speak up about things that are happening, we’re adding to the amount of evidence a black person needs to prove to us that something bad has happened, to the amount of violence they endure having to exist in a world that doesn’t believe them, and to the support of the police officers murdering innocent people on a daily basis. This is an objective reality. It was reality before Mike Brown, and it’s a reality after Alton Sterling. And if you aren’t comfortable recognizing objective reality out loud, then I’m sorry — but I have to think of you as a coward, as too fragile to face the truth. And in my mind that takes you out of every pool I’m interested in interacting with.
Maybe you think it’s harsh, but I think if you’re a police brutality denier you should be treated the same way that Holocaust deniers are treated. You should be laughed out of every spot. Because this is a holocaust. This is slaughter on a mass scale. These are state-sanctioned agents of our society killing our citizens without due process. Unarmed men, women, boys and girls. Yesterday a 4-year-old baby watched her daddy die from the backseat, unable to help except to comfort her mom so she wouldn’t get shot as well, and the only reason we know any of this happened is because the brave woman, whose pain I can only imagine, whose rage I also feel, thought to live stream the aftermath on her Facebook. Without that, who knows what would have happened to her? And even with it, the cops didn’t try to save Phil’s life. The cops still brought Diamond to booking, took her phone, her car, her daughter — after all this happened, she was kept from her daughter and wasn’t released until 5AM. Imagine if that were you. Your boyfriend, your daughter. Without the video, who knows what might have happened?
We do know that police murders are vigorously covered up, evidence is tampered with in cases where a cop has wrongfully killed a citizen without due process, that police lie even with respect to behavior of theirs that’s caught on video, like when the police who murdered Tamir Rice made up this whole story you couldn’t fit into two seconds if you were Quicksilver. It’s also clear that police don’t face the same justice system the rest of us do, and that white people don’t face the same justice system as black people. It’s clear as day. If you decide that you can’t see or won’t see what is so clear then you don’t deserve my time, my attention OR my respect. Demand it all you want, I’m not here for you.
If you are white and you cannot speak in recognizance of the fact police brutality in the United States is an objective reality, then I can’t take you seriously for what you want to be taken seriously for, whether that is as a writer, as a web developer, as a standup comedian, as a singer, as a director, artist et cetera. Silence is no longer allowed. If you want to be taken seriously for anything that is a pursuit above and beyond yourself, then at the very least I need you to speak up about something that is so clearly wrong and so clearly benefits one group over another group and so clearly demonizes one group over another. If you choose not to, that’s a choice you could make, but which carries the consequence that I will never be a part of your audience. I will refuse to buy anything you sell, pull credence from anything you say. A narrator that cannot distinguish objective reality is unreliable. A further consequence is that others who also watch your silence will be justified in thinking that you want black people to be continually shot by police on a daily basis. That you condone it. Silence is encouragement to the police. Silence is how we’ve gotten to where we are today.
I’m asking you to do your part to change that now.