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I Don’t Know Much But I Know Why Black Lives Matter


I Don’t Know Much But I Know Why Black Lives Matter

Michael Winship

Philando Castile and I share birthdays in July. This year, I celebrated mine with friends and family. But Castile’s friends and family are mourning his death, killed by a police officer in the St. Paul, Minnesota, suburbs after he was pulled over for a broken taillight.

He would have been 33. I am decades older — older now, in fact, than my own father when he died.

And I am white.


"As hard as I might try, I can never ever understand what it is like to be black in America"

Try changing "black" for "poor".


Poor doesn't show on your skin.


Neither does rich.


I have a little bit of an idea what it's like to be Black. My very curly hair is darker in back than in front, and I've come to understand several of my experiences of odd traffic stops as probably being about having been mistaken for driving while black. The cops stammer and stutter when they find an old White woman driving the SUV or the the coupe. Most of these stops end with mere warnings. I've been calculating how to handle the situation better than to just let the cop get away with it.


Being black in America especially under the yoke of a police mindset that creates enemies and perps for their own purposes, advancement and power, is indeed a reality that white America cannot know, only imagine.
There are white, mostly poor, victims of police depraved indifference but mostly people of color - one name that stands out is James Boyd, murdered for "camping without a license".

We have seen dozens of celebrated cases of police murder of black people and there have not been any prosecutions much less convictions to name - from Eleanor Bumpurs to Eric Garner and Tamir Rice to Ramarley Graham and hundreds of others we have heard about - there are thousands we have not. and the killer is never brought to justice. The fact that the law gives such legal rights and impunity to police for actions that are crimes for everyone else tells the tale.....No Justice, NO Peace!

"The mind reels, the heart and soul cry out. Events of the last few days have brought to the forefront a mix of issues both profound and perplexing, from race in America and extremist politics to the nature of law and order, the militarization of the police and the gun violence that kills both police and innocent bystanders of every color and creed."

http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/unarmed/ Photos of only a few victims of police violence - smiling faces that should still be alive and smiling with their loved ones......none of these received the same respect the murdered Dallas police did.......


Nobody was ever stopped for driving while rich.

Actually, I should acknowledge (hours later) that Black folk are routinely stopped for driving too nice a car in too nice a neighborhood and made to prove they haven't stolen it. The police chief of a town where my family has deep roots was recently forced to resign when his e-mail surfaced in which he advised it was fine to "profile" people of color driving or walking in wealthy neighborhoods (about all of town). 21st-c New Jersey.


I understand your feelings!
I just got off the phone with my sister in which we argued and hung up. Coming from a bi-racial family I do not believe she or any in our family are racists. However, she has always lived in a white community and had a fairly sheltered life. I have been involved and around the black community since I was 17. Worked in civil rights and so forth.
She started talking about how horrible it was that the officers were killed, I agreed.
Then she went on how there is so much black on black crime and in some areas the police refuse to do their jobs for fear of attack. I said there are two sides to every story and not all police are upstanding like her son-in-law and not all black people want to kill cops. I also said that Black Lives Matters is an important movement. She said they were violent, I said a few are violent but the group is not. Oh, boy that didn't go over well, it ended in an argument. There was more to it than that but that was an example of the way it went.
This is an example of a person that is not a racist but who has been so unexposed to the plight of black people that she instinctively sides with the police.
Racism and white privilege takes many forms and some that are not racists per se, still exhibit racial biases. I liked what Trevor Noah on Daily Show said paraphrased.
You can be pro police and still stand with black people and you can be pro black and still stand for the police, they are not mutually exclusive. That is my view.
Black Lives Matter is important because black lives have not mattered as much as white lives for a long time. So you say all lives matter and of course that's true but it's black lives that are on the line, so it's like stealing their thunder when someone comes back and says all lives matter. It comes across as a way to diminish the protest and the reason it's there. Here's another one, "we have a black president and A. G. so how could racism still be a problem?"
We all need to search our souls and discover those little biases and get rid of them if we ever expect a level playing field for all people in this great melting pot called America. We need to value differences and see them as additions to our cultural experiences and growth. In a country so full of different races and religions we should not be afraid of each other.


If you would like some interaction with the police just drive an older beat up car(but legal)in a wealthy neighborhood.

I could not understand why the BLM movement seemed to target Sanders and not Clinton or for that matter Obama. I like the fact that it is a grass roots organization and has many voices.

I was stopped by the police in a very wealthy town for no reason except driving an older car (its a crime to be poor). I had a suspended license and the person with me also had a suspended license. I was shaking and thought for sure I was screwed----but my friend quickly mentioned who we worked for--one of the wealthiest men in that town. The demeanor of the officer changed ,and to my disbelief we were sent on our way.

So what are the reasons a black person becomes the target of police????When these officers see a black person what do they see????


Don't actually know your surname. My maiden name, Kellam, is one that's common only in Black neighborhoods of Northern US cities and on the DelMarVa Peninsula. Presumably, many people like mine (with 3 options for the final vowel) who immigrated from a town by that name in Nottinghamshire owned slaves (my people were more likely indentured themselves and Quakers, from what we can tell). I once found myself alone in a small, 1-story elevator with the only other employee of my large corporation named Kellam, a Black man. I tried to be friendly as we eyed each other's ID badges, but the discomfort overwhelmed us both and neither said a thing.


Warren, you didn't mention your race. BLM did not at all "target Sanders"; there was one incident in which certain representatives felt unrecognized, and that got played up by Sanders-critical media. There was also a horrible incident (ignored by the media) in which a young BLM activist paid her way into a Clinton fundraiser and got screamed at by the candidate and ejected.

Your anecdote demonstrates rich/White privilege, which is catching to some extent.


Some of us got a small taste of it during the middle to late '60s and early 70s when some of us guys let our hair grow long. Then relations between us and the police changed -- not that they had been totally wonderful before we became "longhairs"; DWT (driving while teenage) had always aroused police suspicion and drew police attention.

But "going hippie" by growing long hair upgraded our treatment to full on being "hassled." Long hair to them was probable cause for a traffic stop, car search, pocket search, and being spoken to in the voice tone and attitude of "cop contempt." If we happened to let a bit of critical attitude show during our being hassled, we could get roughed up. I got cuffed, put in police cars (getting the "watch your head" trick while being guided into the back seat having my head banged into the top of the door.) From there we could find ourselves taken to police headquarters for "questioning."

Any of us who were caught "holding," being in possession of even microscopic quantities of weed -- like a "roach," the tiny end piece of a pot "joint" in your car ashtray -- it was weirdly amazing to see uniformed police officers fishing through the ashes in the car ashtray to find a tiny bit of evidence of being a "drug user" and thereby criminally liable, facing a trial where you could be defended by a bored going-through-the-motions public defender who might -- if your "karma" was really good -- get a deal to minimize the amount of incarceration time you'd have to do.

It was a teachable wake up call moment for a lot of the suburban raised white kid hippies. When black and Hispanic hippie freaks heard our stories, they would laugh and say that now we see what city life had been like for them all along. They told us to count ourselves lucky because we could cut our hair and stop wearing patched bell bottom jeans, but they could not remove their ethnicity.

Many like me followed the lead of David Crosby in the song "Almost Cut My Hair" and chose not to get barbered and "letting my freak flag fly."


What you write has been my reality. never cut my hair and still have not at over 70. The culture is still alive and almost well - what has changed is police contempt for human life - very like the contempt for such in the military adventurism that is so rampant by our so-called "leaders" - domestic respect for life will never come to be until all life everywhere, including animal of all sorts, is respected, protected and cherished...........


Sorry. Poor white people don't face racist discrimination in jobs, housing, and particularly by law enforcement. And compared to white people, blacks are overwhelmingly poor, suffer worse working conditions for lower wages, and their poverty is deeper.



p.s. i tried to :heart: your first post, too but somehow goofed. i think i chose like before clicking to view the gallery of beautiful faces, then clicked like a second time, forgetting i'd done so already. when i attempted to correct my error i saw a "you are not allowed" message.


(and @stiffupperflipflop and @hummingbird) Can we get back to the basis of BLM and not get carried away with how put-upon some of us have been? And anyway, long hair was a trigger only for guys. Women driving while teens face another set of risks. Ask Sandra Bland.


You're spreading ignorant, hateful ranting. If you're not a Black person, you have no business making these claims. And it's patently ridiculous to claim that Black people's lives don't matter to themselves.


It appears you often have a serious reading comprehension problem, as in this case - and penchant to criticize - what people respond to others is their business and don't warrant any exhortations to "get back to the basis of BLM". Take the time to read people's other comments before you criticize - that is the worst sort of going "off topic"....................


If you could back up your claims with real statistics, there would be no argument here. But don't tell me to google. Do your own research, and I don't mean just what somebody else claimed. This article is about understanding each other better. Blaming the victims helps no one.


The oligarchy wants to take the heat off itself and make us fight each other instead by making us believe that class warfare is racial discrimination.