"ignore the story. see the soul. remember to love. you will never regret it" --- Seane Corn

"ignore the story. see the soul. remember to love. you will never regret it" --- Seane Corn
it's a jungle out there

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

wtf... i can't...

So...

This morning I dropped the kids off at the high school and noticed police cars in the parking lot. Yesterday there was an incident with a student who apparently made a threat, so today there is increased security. 

But that's not the issue...

The issue is, when I saw the cop cars I automatically put both my hands at 11 & 1 on my steering wheel.

wtf

*****

About a month ago, in my hometown, where I have resided for 12 years, I realized I get REALLY NERVOUS every time I drive past a cop car. So of course, because I live in my head, I thought... it's me it's my problem it's my...whatever...

But then I thought... hold up... what if I were... Me... but White... would I still be so mistrustful... so PARANOID???...



I am a 52 year old health care professional. I have degrees from an Ivy League school. I have paid taxes since I was 16 years old. I drive a light blue Mini Cooper forgodssake. But I feel more unsafe in my hometown when I pass a police car than at ANY other time, whether driving or on foot. 

Are White Women who are, other than their 'race', just like me, nervous when they drive by a cop in their hometown? A hometown where they own property and pay taxes? A hometown where they love the Mountain and the River and Main St? A hometown where they wake up every morning, look out their bedroom bay window and think... oooh... so pretty...? The hometown where that, in most ways, they feel privileged (as in grateful) to live?

My answer is 'no'. I am not sure that a White Woman would have the same visceral reaction that I have. But like I said, I'm not sure. I haven't taken a poll or asked The Question. Maybe a lot more people are mistrustful or fearful of police than I am aware of. 

So, back when I had this realization... I asked Jack. Because my kids are my reality check. They have a completely different perspective from mine and are super savvy. And they are usually dead-on. But Jack's response was... well, yeah mom... of course... so do I... there's no way white women have the same response you do...

aack

Like I said, I had this conversation with Jack during the summer. He's 19 now, and had just finished his first year at a relatively exclusive expensive private liberal arts college near Albany. He's able to attend largely because he has a guaranteed merit scholarship covering half his tuition for the full four years. But after a few weeks of him being there I received a text saying "racism is alive and well". He excelled academically, and although he's aware he's really smart, he attributes his GPA to spending most of his time in the library because he doesn't want to fuck with those people

fuck with is current lingo for hang with

Mom, I never thought of myself as a background person, but I'm not at all interested in the social life there [at college]

*****

I never much second-guessed my decision to forego what's typically considered "quality" k-12 education for my kids (school district reputation/tax base) for diversity until Jack started his college career.

One of the reasons I fell in love with Beacon 12 years ago was the diversity. I chose to raise my kids in a socially, culturally, and ECONOMICALLY diverse community with an "ok" school district, rather than a largely wealthy community with "stellar" schools". I wanted my kids to grow up with the chance to learn that at our core we are more alike than different, regardless of the labels we carry. And I truly believe it was the right choice.

Plus we could afford to buy a house here.

*****


On the way up to drop him off 2 weeks ago, Jack told me about an encounter he had with his best college friend's older brother. The whole thing knocked him for a total loop and sounds like the most hurtful experience of racism he has had in his short "post racial" life. When introduced, his friend's brother looked at him and said "so, are you like one of the ones who is here to meet the quota? like... being Black got you in?"

are you fucking kidding me???

Jack, in a way that he definitely got from his dad or maybe my sister Halona, responded, " well... I have a 4.0 average... and I don't know anyone else who has that GPA... but it [being Black] sure helps with the ladies..."

to which this turd replied "yeah.. but... that's not REALLY a 4.0... your professors probably went easy on you so it would look good..."

Jack was devastated. He had a few choice words for the jerky brother and then walked out of the room. He and his best friend never talked about it, but he knew his friend was ashamed and embarrassed. His friend's mom is a pediatric nurse practitioner just like me. His dad is a nice guy. His friend is sweet and awesome. But the brother's words cut my boy to the quick and more than anything else he experienced made him want to run from that school.

*****

So... back to my issue with being in viewing range of cops in Beacon...

Today I took Ty for his learner's permit. As I said, cops were posted outside the high school. As I drove past them, my heart skipped, I suddenly felt like I had to pee and I automatically placed my hands on top of my steering wheel in plain sight. I talked to Ty about it, kind of hoping he'd shoot me down in his mom you're so old, you're so out of touch, you're so clueless kind of way.

No. Such. Luck.

...ummm... yeah mom... of course... how else are you supposed to feel...

double aack

And then I come home and check facebook, where my sister Melanie posted this link http://usuncut.com/black-lives-matter/gruesome-video-shows-tulsa-police-killing-unarmed-terence-crutcher-hands-air/


how else am I supposed to feel??? maybe like I'm gonna vomit...

what. the. fuck.

racism is alive and well








11 comments:

  1. in desperation this morning i said to ted, "what do we do?!" he said we have to bear witness - give it a voice. you're giving it a voice.

    ReplyDelete
  2. god, michelle, thank you for this post, which speaks for me and my family too, almost word for word. my daughter, when she got into cornell, had a white "friend" from her high school say to her, "it must have helped, being black." my daughter said, "i am really offended by that," to which the friend said, "no, no, i didn't mean anything about you." all through her college career, in which she made deans list, she had to field comments from other students suggesting that she was only there for the diversity bottom line. fuck them, i told her. you know why you're there. you know what you're learning. the people who says these things have no place in your life. they're irrelevant. but they take up psychic space anyway, don't they. and they sure as hell are not irrelevant when just having your car stall out on the road is enough for cops to pull up and shoot you dead. i tense when a cop car goes by me, too. in new york city. racism is alive and well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. omg angela it's so good to be home

      your comment brought me to tears. somehow i still think i'm imagining it all

      xoxoxo

      Delete
  3. and my heart leapt, seeing you'd posted. even to bear witness. xo

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here you are, here you are, our Michelle. And I'm sorry that this is the post that you had to post but dammit- of course you're right. Racism is alive and thriving, driven to even higher levels of being out because of certain political candidates and I don't know what the answer is and it makes me sick. Every day. Even though it doesn't affect me on the same level it affects you and Angella, of course. Now let me say that driving past a cop or being IN FRONT OF A COP in traffic makes me crazy but that's because when I was a young hippie in central Florida, cops had hard-ons for arresting hippies so that's pretty much imprinted in me and I can never forget that they have big honking weapons on their persons which is fucking scary but I don't have to worry that merely the color of my skin might make them reach for that weapon.
    The insults your kids have to go to through, that Angella's kids have to go through- it's unthinkable that in this day and time this still happens but I have no doubt that it does and sometimes I just want to apologize for all of the white people but what good would that do? I am horrified by the things that come out of people's mouths. My kids and I talk about these things all the time and they are horrified too. And I'm rambling because I don't know what to say. I don't have any answers. We do all have to speak out and bear witness. I will. I do. I promise.
    And I am loving you, woman. From afar.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Long, but, here's what my Jessie just posted on FB:
    When my husband and I found out we were having a boy, one of our first thoughts was how lucky this boy will be to live in a world where he is discriminated against the least. A white man. Wow.
    I am lucky, as a mother, because I don't have to spend my nights worrying about the greater chance of him being taken to jail or shot by police. Sure, he's human, so there's plenty for me to fret and worry about, but my life, my husband's life, and now my son's life is privileged because of the color of our skin.
    My heart is heavy for all the mamas that worry about their beautiful black men and boys every day. I really can't imagine having that stress on me, day and night.
    So, when I see white people (and some of these people are good people that I'm friends with on Facebook) say things like "All Live Matter" or "Blue Lives Matter" or "Colin Kaepernick needs to be kicked off the team", I get so mad. You people don't know what you're talking about. Just stop it. Please. Listen and learn some things. Your life is privileged due to the color of your skin. Be grateful and listen to your black brothers and sisters. They are hurting and they need us. Talking about race can be really uncomfortable, and honestly, I hate making anyone feel uncomfortable so I don't always bring up controversial topics. But it's sooo important.
    I am not colorblind. No one really is. Don't pretend you are. #blacklivesmatter

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just discovered your blog so I know little to nothing about you but I read your post with interest. To answer your query, no. White women (at least me and my friends) do not get nervous when we drive by a cop. Unless of course we are speeding or on our phone (not hands free!). Racism exists and I have a lot of thoughts on why. It is one of my greatest hopes as a parent to raise children who are kind and fair and who want good for all people, not just ones who look like them. I'm sorry for the behavior, thoughts and words of the white people who are racists and who make your life more difficult than it should be. Really. I'm so sorry. I look forward to reading your blog in the future!

    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
  7. Profound and transparent Post, and yes, unfortunately it is alive and well, which grieves me greatly... I feel there should be the view of only one Race, the Human Race, things would be so much more harmonious then among Humans. As a racially blended Family we encounter diverse reactions, some good... some not so good. And in answer to your question, as a Senior Woman who at least looks White rather than racially blended, yes, I too have had enough negative experiences with Police Officers in recent years to feel very distrustful and guarded, which sucks. I'm certain there are more Officers who do a good job than those that aren't up to the job, alas, due to the 'brotherhood' among certain professions, I do feel that many of the good ones cover for the bad ones, or make excuses, rather than making them accountable and dismissing them from Serving if they do not measure up. What happened to your Dear Son is very hurtful... we recently moved from the Hood to a more Affluent area to give the Grandkids we're raising better opportunities and less exposure to violence. Both Children are racially blended and have Hispanic surnames, both are Special needs children and the boy is Gay... recently both told me that tho' the new neighborhood is Safer, it is much more biased in more subtle ways and they have few Friends here and 'miss' the Hood. What can I say, it's an unfortunate fact that tho' progress has been made Socially, there is much Work to still do. Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

    ReplyDelete
  8. Michelle, I'm so glad to see you posted, and so sad to read why. I can't even imagine how it feels to live in your skin. I will say, that thanks to a youth filled with drugs and alcohol, that I have always been afraid of cops, of getting busted, and getting pulled over for a taillight today as a squeaky clean white suburban mom makes me shake and cry. I also grew up where there were quite a few assholes with guns and badges fulfilling their macho dreams as town cops and state troopers. My sister was harassed for a while by a cop who was obsessed with her and would follow her home from work under made up excuses. So scary! I think it's scary to be a woman, in a world filled with angry or entitled men, and I wish seeing a police officer made me feel safe, and not think COP!! but that is how I'm wired. But I don't know the half of it, do I?

    I'm sorry for your fear, sorry your kids have to even think about it, sorry your son has run up against white privileged ignorance and racism. I really think part of the root problem is insularity and ignorance. I grew up with black friends, and asian and muslim friends, and since I grew up semi-white trash, I've tried never to judge, ever. People are people to me, not on a spectrum of color, but one of kindness and intelligence, and humor. But I live in my own crazy bubble. I wish things were different, I wish there was a way to ride with you, and be less afraid together. I wish, I wish. xo

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was so happy to come here and see that you've posted. I am very wary of cops and definitely take note of them despite being white, but it's not a visceral reaction. I think it's because it's the LAPD, and I've always found them to be loathsome. It's the whole power thing and my own problem with authority. There is no comparison with what people of color go through -- that is bred in the cell and the bone, I imagine. May you always be safe and cherished and protected.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I keep thinking of that situation that Jack went through and it fills me with such rage.

    ReplyDelete

so... wadaya think?

Your fairy is called Columbine Icedancer
She is a bone chilling bringer of justice for the vulnerable.
She lives in mushroom fields and quiet meadows.
She is only seen when the bees swarm and the crickets chirrup.
She wears lilac and purple like columbine flowers. She has icy blue butterfly wings.