I've tried to start this post so many times. I've gotten entire paragraphs in and then deleted the whole and walked away too many times to count.
I need to get it off my chest. It needs to leave my body, in fact.
Basically I shared what was probably the hundredth story about police brutality on my facebook page. A friend decided it would be a good time to defend that tired ass blue lives matter trope and I clapped back.
And clapped some more. AND mentioned that my issues with police brutality did not mean I was anti police. It did not mean I thought her husband or my other friends who work for law enforcement agencies around the country are monsters. I'm annoyed I have to preface my disgust with that obnoxiously obvious caveat.
I'm even more annoyed that she unfriended me and then blocked me before we could discuss the issue like two rational friends. Because that's what we were. I am her children's godmother. Like me, they are biracial girls living with a white mother and a white stepfather. Back in the day this made our relationship highly special. They would have someone who could relate to them when they started to question. I was ready to be there.
She has made sure her children and family have blocked me as well. And let's be clear. She removed me from her life because I was enraged that two men were murdered.
Shortly after her block an unarmed black man who was simply protecting an autistic man was shot. Also an investigation looking at the Baltimore Police Department found a shocking number of seriously troubling and horrific examples of police brutality, racism and abuses of power. I'm curious how she responded to the news.
I've read articles stating we shouldn't remove people from our social media accounts...that we should embrace different opinions. I have deleted quite a few racists and ignorant, biased folk who I just don't have the time or energy for, but I wasn't ready to let go of this friend. Have we figured out how to get through to people who scream all lives matter? Are they lost causes? Is there a magic statement that helps them see what's going on? I don't know because she shut down that conversation before it ever truly could begin.
I usually start a conversation like the above with an offering...the cancer example is a good one, but this one Keith Powell offered up was pretty good, too:
Because you can’t fix a flat tire by talking about how great the engine is.
Or saying that everyone gets a flat tire.
Or saying “if you drove better, you wouldn’t get a flat tire.”
Or “Considering the amount you drive, that’s not a lot of flat tires.”
The tire is flat. It needs to be fixed.
And to anyone who says the tire is not flat; anyone who contends there is no real issue, I say this: You are the problem.
But then the conversation takes a detour. Always. We have a problem. A HUGE ass, nasty no good problem and discussing the problem is an even nastier problem because communication is on lock down. I'm dealing with walls. Lots and lots of walls and it has left me heavy hearted and damaged. I'm reading a lot. I'm constantly trying to find more effective ways of discussing these issues so that we're able to have a freakin' civil discourse.
Do you ever feel like people aren't listening? That they're only waiting for the break in your conversation so that they can say what they want to say? I would love to hear a story from a reformed all lives matter believer...someone from the blue lives camp who actually hears and agrees that no where in the statement, "black lives matter" does it say, "that means I'm anti everything else." The amount of walls going up... I have some questions. Lots and lots of heavy-hearted questions.
I crave some real conversation.
I could do without the walls.