I didn’t know if I wanted to write about this today. It seems wrong, almost, to make this my blog post. I’m sure you’ve all seen the decision to not indict the Ferguson officer that killed the unarmed black teen Michael Brown. What can I say? That I’m hurt, mad, upset, etc? I feel like this comes from a wrong place, because, frankly, it isn’t much of my place to give opinions on this. But at the same time, all my thoughts are consumed by this issue, and I don’t think I can write about anything else right now.
Let me clarify – I’m white. (please, pick your jaw off the floor). The very fact that this decision makes me angry, but not scared, says everything. I’ve never had to worry about how others would see me because of my race. I’ve never had someone assume the worst about me, fit me into racial stereotypes… I’ve never felt fear because of a police officer, someone who is paid and trained to protect me.
Sure, I’ve been afraid because I am a woman. I’ve crossed the street to avoid a group of men, I’ve lowered my head and walked quicker as I passed by men in fear of them saying something to me, I’ve avoided men on the street asking for spare change because I think to myself – what if he grabs my arm? What will I do then? …But a police officer? I’ve never been fearful; only trusting.
I have no idea what people of color go through. I have never, and I will never, be able to empathize with their daily struggles. It is white privilege that allows me to see the Ferguson verdict, be upset, but then go to bed feeling safe. Not everyone is so lucky.