Breaking My Silence

July 7, 2016

I don’t have a product to review today. I don’t have a cute dress to show you. I don’t have a fun recipe to share. I’m almost at a loss for words….

almost.

I want to start by quoting a friend, Whitney of Whitney Seeks, who put some of what I was thinking into eloquent words on her Instagram last night.


When I say Black Lives Matter, I’m not saying other lives don’t. It seems elementary to have to review, but this isn’t about saying some lives are worth more than others. Of course the lives of all human beings matter. Of course they do.

Except that, for hundreds of years, black lives have been made to matter significantly less than white ones. Slavery might not exist as it once did, and yes, the Civil Rights Movement, but racism did not end with MLK.

We do not yet live in a post-racial world.

Racism today might not look like chains or slurs or segregation, but it does look a lot like people clamoring for reasons as to why a black child deserved to die. It looks an awful lot like death threats and procuring of rap sheets for the family of one child when a gorilla is killed, and go fund me accounts for the family of another child when five alligators are.

When I say Black Lives Matter, I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, suggesting I’m anti-police, because I’m not.

I am, however, unequivocally against police brutality.

I am against abuse of power coupled with lack of implicit bias training.

I am against a system that was never set up to serve justice for all.

I am against black and brown bodies being tried on the sidewalks, so many for crimes that weren’t committed, and their murderers never seeing the inside of a courtroom.

So far this year, we’re at nearly 600 police involved killings. I don’t want to ask how many more it’s going to take.

Something has to change.

Let’s start with the appropriate response to Black Lives Matter.

It’s not, “but.” It’s not, “all…”

It’s, “Yes, they do.”

An answer that is anything less than that is part of the problem.

Black Lives Matter.


I know, I know. I’m a Mommy blogger. I should be talking about teething, poop, strollers and breastfeeding. This is too heavy. This isn’t in my niche. People don’t want to read this. It’s uncomfortable. It’s unsettling.

I apologize if you came to read something lighter. I can’t be light and I can’t be quiet.

I was recently reminded that I need not be afraid to speak my truth. I shouldn’t worry about the opinions that will subsequently form about who I am. Far too often, I hesitate to be strong and vocal in my convictions for fear of opposition and uncomfortable arguments. I get overly anxious when I feel someone doesn’t “get” what I’m saying. Often, speaking out about an issue I am passionate about brings an anxiety that I tend to avoid. Therefore, I’m usually the lurker on Facebook that doesn’t get involved in the conversation, but I am happy to passively “like” the comments made by braver, more well spoken people who are preaching the messages that live inside my brain.

Here’s the tragic thing about the issue at hand. There will always be the people on the other side of the argument, who deny that racial killings exist, who deny that police brutality is a problem, and who have an arsenal of rational excuses for why ALL of these people were killed. There will always be people who will justify the MURDERS of Freddie Gray. Tamir Rice. Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Sandra Bland. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Fill In Name Here. I doubt that anything I say will help them open their minds to what is happening. These same people can’t seem to bring themselves to admit that it is wrong. Why is it so hard to just say, “YES, it’s tragic! It’s injustice! It’s wrong!”? It shouldn’t be. It should be the opinion of the people to recognize and speak out.

Those of us who were born into privilege should not even attempt to understand what a black man (or woman) has to fear every day. You should be ashamed of yourself if you think that you do. I can’t help but think about Philando Castile’s mother. What if I had to fear that one day my son would get pulled over with a functional, but broken tail light, try to comply with an officer and notify him that he had a LEGAL concealed weapon, but might accidentally do it in the wrong order or not fast enough- or- TOO LATE. It doesn’t matter. He’s dead. Not only dead, over killed. Shot four times. FOUR. TIMES. Oh, and my son bled to death while an officer kept his gun drawn and withheld medical attention.

Something is wrong. I am furious. I am heartbroken. I am over it.

OVER. IT.

I’ve been quiet. I have observed. I have read the stories, watched the videos. I’ve prayed. I’ve begged God to give me some answers or show me how to help. I’ve used the hashtags.

It’s not enough. Even my small voice on my small blog might not be enough. But it’s something. It’s a start.

I woke up this morning and the SECOND execution (yes, execution) in 48 hours of a black man at the hands of a police officer had transpired. I was still reeling in the the devastation I was feeling for the loss of Alton Sterling and trying to wrap my mind around that, when I wake up to a video of a man bleeding to death and losing consciousness, while the murdering officer keeps his gun drawn… on a man who is dying…

I’m sorry if I can’t keep it light today, but I can’t. I won’t.

I don’t have supreme insight into all the moving parts of racism, inequality, or injustice. I certainly don’t have an answer on how to fix a terribly broken society. I don’t have large scale power or control. At the same time, I have all the power and all the control. So do you. We can lend our voices. We can speak up. So many privileged white people (yes, privileged) like me stay in the shadows and quietly express our disgust to like minded friends. We avoid inevitable conflict with the opposition. It’s easier to be quiet.

I don’t want to be quiet anymore. I don’t want my children to grow up and be people who are too afraid or weak to speak up for justice. Someone has to speak. We all have to stand together, for no battle was ever won in silence.

So, here I am. I’m coming out of the shadows. I’m standing and I’m speaking and I don’t know what else to do right now.Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in it's presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love.-Julian Assange

 

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13 Comments

  • Reply Renee July 7, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Makes me sick to my stomach 🙁 it’s important that you say something and stand behind what you believe. Your blog is the perfect platform and so many people will understand and agree.

    • Reply katiemcrenshaw July 10, 2016 at 8:10 am

      Thanks, Renee! There will always be people who refuse to budge on their stance, but I believe love prevails!

  • Reply Claire July 7, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Great post Katie. Thank you for speaking out on this issue! The more people do the more something HAS to be done!

    • Reply katiemcrenshaw July 10, 2016 at 8:09 am

      Thank you Claire, I agree!!

  • Reply Shaunacey July 7, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Yes! This is what is needed, your voice, the voice of us born into privilege. It’s time we all break our silence and scream that this cannot continue. I trust, that this is what can impact change – when we ALL, oppressed and allies, unite for the same goal and refuse to watch idly as this injustice continues.
    I’m so glad you wrote this! Xo

    • Reply katiemcrenshaw July 10, 2016 at 8:09 am

      I agree! Thanks for stopping by, Shaunacey!

  • Reply Lindsay July 7, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    I’m proud to call you my friend and I truly want to thank you for posting this! I don’t think I could have said it any better.

    • Reply katiemcrenshaw July 10, 2016 at 8:09 am

      I love you, friend!

  • Reply Whitney July 7, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Thank you for writing this.

    • Reply katiemcrenshaw July 10, 2016 at 8:08 am

      Thanks for being you!

  • Reply A Russell July 8, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    I disagree and feel as though you did not do your research at all. You are saying that people who are Black are treated worse than those that are white or that they are targeted. However, more police brutality and deaths have occurred against Caucasians than black people – You are right – it is an outrage, but just because the black community is demanding Justice and they are all over the news screaming and crying for justice does not mean that you have it right. You should research more – http://newobserveronline.com/far-more-whites-killed-by-us-police/ 502 Whites killed vs 250 black and 163 Hispanic / Latino… If you had then you would have seen the horrible killing of Kelly Thomas – who was screaming and crying for his father while the police beat him to death. https://whythetruth.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/the-cowardly-killing-of-kelly-thomas/ It’s not that Black Lives Matter – or All Lives Matter – but do not glorify the thugs like Trayvon and Mr. Brown… They were in the wrong and you would know that if you had really done your research.

    Good Job for standing up for something – you are right about one thing – Something does need to change.

    • Reply katiemcrenshaw July 10, 2016 at 8:04 am

      I’m sorry you interpreted my piece that way and “feel as though I didn’t do my research”. Part of the problem in the conversation in this country is when people attack other people for their views by accusing them of being uneducated, not educated enough or lazy (not doing research). That’s not the way to solve hate and brokenness. My post was my opinion on speaking out for injustice. I don’t care to continue a political argument that will never reach a conclusion, but thank you for your links. I do research (through credible websites). I will continue to acknowledge the clear racial divide in this country, love everyone, wish for equal rights for everyone, and raise my children the same. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply bridget b. July 15, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I appreciate you for taking the time and your platform to voice these thoughts.

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