Let me start off by saying, something needs to change and we really need to come together as a community. The black community and our white and non-black friends can help us end police brutality.
The first truth we must come to terms with, is that police brutality is a byproduct of white supremacy. We live in a system that was designed to benefit white people.
This doesn’t make all white people or non-black people bad… it’s just the truth of the matter.
I’ve never been so afraid to be black in America. I’ve never been so scared for my big black husband or my big black father or my little black brothers and cousins. Apparently they’re a threat because of their skin color.
Hundreds of people who look like me have been executed by those who are paid to protect and serve; executed without reason and with no justice.
We Aren’t Mad At You
In the words of Tomayia Colvin, “please understand that black people are not mad at you. We’re just tired of losing our loved ones at the hands of police officers. We are wondering why you posted outrage about the monkey, the alligator, the dogs and the gay mass killing, but not about another human being being killed. We just want equitable and fair treatment. It’s almost like you all have turned the cheek and are ignoring what’s happening in our great nation. This is not a democratic or republican issue but a human issue.”
Being quiet because you don’t know what to say is not enough. Being neutral in situations of injustice means that you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
We don’t need allies, we need comrades. We need for you to stand with us and use your connections, your resources and your privilege to help us dismantle racism and white supremacy… if you value black lives that is.
White in America
I don’t know what it’s like to be white or non-black in America.
I don’t know what it’s like to be non-black but love and support black people. I can only imagine how helpless you might feel.
I’m sure you’re withdrawn because you don’t know what to say and don’t want to misspeak. I’m sure that you recognize your privilege and don’t know what to do.
I don’t have all the answers so I’ve done some digging and found a few practical action steps from Mic.com and Ravishly.com that you can research TODAY to help us fight for justice.
This list is non-exhaustive and I’m very open to constructive feedback and suggestions. Click the links below to read the original posts.
And for my black friends… instead of getting riled up by ignorant internet trolls or well-meaning friends who simply don’t understand our plight, send them this post and continue to use your voice and influnce to bring about change.
10 Ways White and Non-Black Friends Can Help Us End Police Brutality
1. Educate yourself on your city’s police conduct review process
“The police conduct review process is often one of the biggest shelters for police misconduct and brutality. The process that holds police accountable for their actions is often shaped or heavily influenced by police unions, who are beholden to cops—not civilians.” – Ijeoma Oluo
2. Pressure your mayor and city council to address gaps in this process
“Both the mayor and the city council hold a lot of influence over the police force and their disciplinary process. This is where you want to put pressure. Through petitions, letter writing campaigns, city council meetings, and town hall meetings you can push your city government to commit to concrete and actionable steps to increase insight and accountability into police conduct.” – Ijeoma Oluo
3. Vote for reform-minded city government
“Reform-minded judges, district or prosecuting attorneys, city council members, and mayors are integral to the battle against police brutality. We all know that politicians are always campaigning. Make this a hot button issue. Make police reform a requirement for your vote.” – Ijeoma Oluo
4. Write to your representatives
“Police brutality isn’t just addressed by the city. The state and federal governments can work to improve oversight and accountability on a larger scale. Contact your representatives and ask what they are doing to address police brutality.” – Ijeoma Oluo
5. Know your right to record police encounters
“If a brave civilian bystander hadn’t recorded the murder of Walter Scott, there is no way the cop who killed him would be in jail right now. When you encounter police, it’s important to know your rights regarding visual and audio recording of the encounter before you are faced with a cop telling you to put your cell phone away.” – Ijeoma Oluo
6. Support legal defense funds and activism groups
“Often we don’t hear about cases of police misconduct or brutality because victims do not have the resources to fight the injustice they have faced. This is where your money talks. Fund the groups who are working hard every day for justice for those who have been violated by the criminal justice system.” – Ijeoma Oluo
7. Speak out
Blog, use social media, or publicly protest about your views on police brutality and black lives. This includes educating and challenging your family, friends, coworkers, teachers and children. We have to educate our babies. We need to let them know that “skin color matters just to the point of acknowledging someone’s history” and their reality in the system we live in.
8. Refrain from sharing video footage of another black death on social media
Don’t help “them” perpetuate the desensitization of violence against black people. We don’t not need to SEE a black person get shot to death in order to understand the pain, anger and hurt that accompanies such a tragedy. Honor our fallen and their loved ones. Would you want your gruesome murder or the murder of your family member going viral? I wouldn’t!
9. Put your money where your mouth is
“In the context of our capitalist democracy, dollars aren’t just green pieces of paper we exchange for goods and services, they represent our values and our priorities. If we invest in women-friendly and LGBT-friendly companies and divest from those with ties to anti-equality groups and politicians, we have a chance to dramatically impact our country’s political and social landscape. Not for nothing, “money talks” is one of this country’s more ubiquitous expressions.” -Maureen Shaw
10. Openly call out and reject any and all white privilege you witness or experience
“Yes, this means giving up your privilege in order to level the playing field.
This could mean speaking up when a cab zooms past a black woman and picks up you and your white friends instead, a phenomenon known as destination discrimination. Or it could mean objecting when asked to speak about racism in lieu of a person of color who is more qualified, or after witnessing a person of color receive harsher punishment for something that earned you a mere slap on the wrist.
Reject and name that privilege — because you didn’t earn it and it’s not one you chose. Recognize it for what it truly is: a perpetuation of some of the worst, lingering elements of racism and white supremacy.” -Derrick Clifton
Here are a few great articles that provide more context and resources:
What You Can Do Right Now About Police Brutality (White and Non-Black Friends Can Help Us End Police Brutality)
Reflection Questions: What’s the best way for our non-black comrades to fight against white supremacy with us? What do you think it’ll take to end police brutality or at least significantly limit the number of black lives killed by police officers and white supremacist?