Being black in America is depressing as fuck. Watching videos of black people being killed by police officers is depressing. Even more depressing, is when they’re not held accountable.
I’ve been feeling a bit depressed for the past two days. So much so, that even my family has noticed it. So what’s bothering me? Philando Castile. I keep thinking about the verdict in the trial of the officer that killed him last year, and I get sad. I’m not outraged as some are. Instead, I’m just sad. Actually, I don’t know if it’s sadness that I feel. Honestly, I’m numb.
Watching the police dashcam video of his shooting will do that to you.
My wife even said that I don’t seem like my normal self. To her, it’s as though I have a lot weighing on my mind. Which is really weird considering the fact that we just took a three-day trip out of town with the kids, and had a great time. So what did it?
Social Media Makes Police Shootings More Depressing
When I got home a few days ago, I logged online and the reaction to the verdict was all in my face. At the time the verdict was announced last Friday, my family and I were traveling. My initial thought was that it was more of the same bullshit. After all, we’ve seen this before. It’s not new. But given that I was traveling with my family, I blocked it out in hopes of not having it fuck up my weekend. However, when I got home and I logged on, there were emails from readers, inbox messages all across social media. Knowing that I wrote about the shooting and followed the trial, everyone wanted to know my thoughts about the verdict.
In short, the verdict was fucked up – the jury got it wrong.
This isn’t surprising considering the role implicit racial bias plays out in courtrooms around the country. We know all too well that whether a defendant or a plaintiff, people of color aren’t afforded the benefit of the doubt. We also know that cops are rarely convicted – if even charged – for officer-involved shootings, and cases of police brutality.
Our Justice System Is Depressing
Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile summed it up perfectly, “Where in this planet, do you tell the truth and you be honest and you still be murdered by the police?” Apparently, given this country’s racial history, the answer isn’t here in America. It may happen anywhere else on this planet. But, it damn sure isn’t happening here in the United States.
Not even if there’s video evidence that shows a police officer shooting someone in the back as they’re running away and posing no threat of bodily harm to said officer. Hell, you can even have your hands in the air as a sign of surrender and still get shot and killed. Not to mention screaming, “I can’t breathe,” while being on the receiving end of an illegal chokehold. It doesn’t matter the scenario, a police officer involved will be given the benefit of the doubt, and it’s on to the next one. And then the next one… and the next one… and the next one. It’s like the same cycle every so many days or months. Die, react, then die again.
Never mind the fact that Philando Castile had a permit to legally carry a gun. Or, never mind the fact that he was never reaching for a gun at the time he was killed. Most importantly, never mind the fact that Officer Yanez gave a conflicting story on whether he saw Castile’s hand on a gun. In his initial report, Yanez said Castile did, and later said that he didn’t see his hand on a gun. None of that matters, though. It doesn’t because Castile had the audacity to involuntarily breathe oxygen in the state of Minnesota. In the city where he was pulled over by the police a total of 14 times in the last 14-years of his life. Given that fact, it’s a wonder he wasn’t shot and killed sooner. Especially since black men are 3 times more likely to die from police use of force, here in the United States. Bet never mind that, the big takeaway from the verdict, is that Castile should have never packed a gun while he was high on weed.
Yes, a longtime friend who happens to be a white conservative said this to me.
It was at this point where my depression set in.
Unfortunately, this response to her video came from a black man. And sadly, responses like that of his and my aforementioned white friend were not limited to just them. Many people shared similar opinions. Responses like these solidified my feelings of depression.
It’s like nobody gets it, and we’re on to the next one.
Watching Black People Die Is Depressing
Look, I know cops shoot and kill white folks. In fact, they probably kill more unarmed white people than they do black folks. I say they probably do because there’s no official database anywhere within the federal government that says I’m wrong. While that’s a problem within itself – a huge problem – it’s not the central issue. So how do we fix it?
The problem as I see it is that not enough white folks care that anyone is killed by cops. They damn sure don’t care if the cops unjustifiably kill someone white. In their eyes, any white person killed by the cops had it coming. If they did care, they’d be protesting in the streets and raising all hell about it. But, they’re not, and they never will.
More bluntly, they’re of the opinion that being killed by the police if you’re white, simply means, that the person killed was nigger-ish and therefore deserving said treatment.
Yes, because being shot by the police is a black thing.
Even The Protests Are Depressing
Maybe if we started screaming, “WHITE LIVES MATTER!” instead of, “BLACK LIVES MATTER!” Perhaps if we did, things will change. I mean, blackness will still be seen as less than and whiteness by default will be the standard. But maybe, if we started putting more value in white bodies. Maybe, then and only then, the value of black bodies will jump up a few points like we’re on NASDAQ. Yes, and they’ll start liking us and they’ll send us birthday gifts and Christmas presents. And maybe, they’ll be far less black people being killed by officers.
I’m only half kidding here, but really I’m not.
But seriously, look at the difference in approach to the crack cocaine epidemic back in the day and today’s opioid epidemic. They damn sure ain’t tryna throw certain folk in jail like they did certain folk of another color in jail back in the days of the crack epidemic.
I’m. Just. Sayin.
This has to change.
I’m tired of writing about this type of thing.