There has been SO much horrible news lately. When we were on vacation, we read about the shooting in Orlando, the toddler who was drowned by an alligator at Disney, and a man who fell into one of the boiling hot acidic pools in Yellowstone days before we arrived. There have been more shootings and more bombings since then. There is so much horrible out there right now. (Not to mention all the hate being spewed around our Election Year.) And yet, there’s no respite.
This morning I read about two black men who were killed by police officers. Again. I won’t watch the videos, because I can’t. I don’t handle watching fake violence, much less real violence. I know that they were horrible.
It’s not the first time this has happened. It seems like every week there are videos and reports of police brutality against African American youth. A boy gets beaten by several cops for jaywalking. A group of kids gets beaten and dragged around for swimming in a pool.
I find myself heartbroken, as so many others are. I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be African American. I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be targeted. To be afraid of the police (more than usual, at least). I do, however, teach African American children. I teach the boys who will grow up to be men. I worry for their future. I worry for their families. I worry that they are going through life knowing this is a truth about America right now. That this is something to worry about as they get older.
I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know what to tell them. I don’t know how to make them feel safe outside my classroom. Inside my classroom, I will show them kindness, love, and challenge them to do their best. I will expect them to be their best and for ALL my students to treat each other like brothers and sisters. Like friends. With respect. No matter their differences.
But how do I help them outside my classroom? How do I help them feel like the world is a safe place for them? How do I help them when I don’t know that this is true. How can I teach them the world will not let them down when I don’t know that I believe it myself?
I’m angry. I’m angry at institutions that allow their officers to shoot innocents. That they treat white males with respect – even if the white male is beating up on the officers. Even if the white male has slaughtered people. And that officers will shoot a black male almost immediately, whether or not they are complying with their requests.
I’m angry that our society has allowed this to happen over and over again. I’m angry that NOTHING IS CHANGING. I’m angry at myself because I don’t know how to fix it.
I’m lost. As are so many others. I’m lost as to how I can help. I’m lost as to what to do. I’m lost, because the country I’ve grown up thinking is great is now starting to feel evil. My rose colored glasses are off, and I’m lost as to what will change things.
America is broken. America needs to wake up. America needs to stop allowing African American citizens to be gunned down at the drop of a hat. In front of their children. America is broken for so many reasons. There is no such thing as a “good guy with a gun” as so many people think…