Turn up the Volume|Being Black is Not a Crime

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I recently had a conversation with a lady (a white woman) about the recent events of today, The Black Lives Matter movement. She mentioned to me that she is always giving her husband (a black man) pointers when he is driving around the police. She said that she typically tells him that he needs turn his music down and remove his head covering, whether it is a hat or bandana. I looked at her and said, “Black people should be able to just live unapologetically as black people, our skin color isn’t a crime.” I went on to explain that loud music is not illegal, maybe disrespectful depending on the situation, but not illegal. A black man should not feel uncomfortable being himself just to avoid being targeted by the police. Speeding is a target, illegal turns make you a target, running a red light is a target, but being black should not be a target for a traffic stop. People say, “Well if you don’t break the law, then you won’t have to worry about the police.” Let us be honest here, we all are going to have a run in with the police (I’m guilty of a couple speeding tickets), but black men get it worse because police like to see their color as a threat. A black man getting pulled over is like the lottery to police, because they assume there has to be more than the surface; drugs in the car, an illegal weapon, a warrant, or they “fit a description”…because they always do, right?

Back to our conversation, I asked her,” Why do we as a black community have to disregard our culture to fit in? Why do we have to blast country music to be more appealing to society?”

She said,” You don’t.”

However, that is what she is telling her husband to do. Obviously, she was not telling him to listen specifically to country music, but would she advise him to turn down his music if it were a different genre, I vote No.

Black Lives Matter

Visit The official Black Lives Matter Website to read more about their movement to fight to end the systematic targeting of black lives. 

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I did mention in the beginning that she is a white woman married to a black man, so I can understand that this movement affects her as well. I am not going to disregard that she is concerned for her husband’s black life. Her concerns were valid, but her advice was almost in agreeance that his black skin equated to a crime.

Although, I didn’t agree with the fact that she was telling him to do things like turn his music down, nearly every black person has the same mentality of doing little random things like that to avoid getting targeted by the police.  Black people must act and think differently when it comes to almost anything.

 While unrelated to police brutality, but relative to how we are judged; I admitted in our conversation that when I go for a job interview I debate on whether to wear my natural 4C afro-kinky hair, or if I should straighten it up to “fit” in with the demographics of the job. Being black (even minority) means debating on changing your dialect, changing your image, straying away from our culture in order to fit in with what America thinks is ideal. She admitted that she never thought about her hair for an interview, and it did not surprise me one bit. 

Nor did she ever have to consider turning her music down when next to a police officer.

Photo Credit: Benedikt Geyer (unsplash)

We concluded our conversation in which she expressed that not every black man is a criminal, not every white person is a racist, and not every Mexican man is illegal. (yes, #AllLivesMatter… typical conclusion).

I agree to that as well, but we are losing more black lives due to police brutality and the offenses are minor. I can not stomach the idea of losing my husband in a routine traffic stop, or my son because he decided to take a run around the block. White people do not have those concerns. It has become the reality that things that are considered “normal”, can be a death sentence for black people. For years, these deaths do not get any justice. Nothing happens, nothing changes.

As for the conversation that I had with this lady, how devastated would she be to know that her husband lost his life just for listening to his favorite rap song?

The racial injustices have to stop.

Currently, the world is protesting that BLACK LIVES MATTER and a lot of people do not understand that it is deeper than just accepting black skin but stop criminalizing and killing black PEOPLE because of our skin color. Stop spewing prejudice and making stereotypes because of our skin color. The law (and certain people) see black people, relate our presence as poverty-stricken, untrustworthy criminals, and we are losing our lives due to that reason. 

When you view black people, your eyes need to focus on seeing human beings.

We Are NOT !

We deserve better. Being Black should not be this hard. 

Being Black should not be a Crime.

We will turn up the volume so that we can be heard ,

 

"Black Lives Matter!"

Join the conversation. Leave a a comment below. Are you comfortable talking about the events that are going on with the people around you? How has the movement affected you?

What are your thoughts?


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1 thought on “Turn up the Volume|Being Black is Not a Crime”

  1. Powerful post – Great job in stating what needs to be said. I, as a black woman, also find myself changing certain things in order to appeal to my white neighbourhood that I live in. I wear bright colours on my run – I always run with my (white boyfriend), I always point out cop cars that are close by and many other little things. It’s sad, really. I hate that I do that – but I don’t think I’m alone. The fact is – I’m looking out for my safety. I know that people may look at me and see a threat or worse, try and hurt me. Not only am I black, but I am a woman, and I am young.
    I just hope there will come a day that I can just… be.
    Many people do not think about these things.. and THAT’S privilege.

    Anyways, great post. Needed to be said.

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