Wednesday, January 6, 2021

If You Are White (Trigger Warning:Jacob Blake)


It’s time.

It’s past time.

If you are white I want you to stop and look in the mirror and say the words.

Take your time, make eye contact, think about the words as you say them. 

It starts like this:

My brother, Jacob...

The police shot my brother Jacob seven times, his sons were watching. He’s paralyzed now. 

My son, Jacob...was trying to break up a fight and the police shot him in the back.

The police shot your Uncle Jacob. He didn’t commit any crime but they shot him. And no one will be arrested or tried for disabling him for the rest of his life.

It was my best friend, Jacob, his sons had to watch him get shot. He held onto his shirt and shot him. How could he do that to him?

It was Jacob from next door. He was just trying to help. They won’t arrest the man who shot him. 

Look in the mirror. Pretend there is someone very real hanging on your every word. And every word is the story of someone you know.

My brother,
My son,
My husband, 
My cousin, 
My uncle, 
My nephew,
My best friend,
My neighbor. 

This is his picture. These are his sons. This is his neighborhood. This is where he fell.

Imagine having to tell the story to your family, your friends, your coworkers, your neighbors, because Jacob was a person so close to you that you could not look away. Imagine Jacob’s story is a part of your story.

Don’t look away. Look in the mirror. 

Here is his story:

No charges to be filed against Kenosha police officers in Jacob Blake shooting, Mark Guarino, Mark Berman, Kim Belware, Washington Post

KENOSHA, Wis. — A Kenosha police officer will face no criminal charges for shooting Jacob Blake seven times in the back and paralyzing him, an incident that touched off several days of intense protests against police and later unraveled into violent and deadly street clashes between demonstrators.


Blake, who witnesses said had been trying to break up an argument between two women, was unarmed and shot as he walked back toward his vehicle.


Police shot Blake, who witnesses said had been trying to break up an argument between two women, as he walked back toward his SUV, an officer trailing behind. Three of Blake’s sons watched from the vehicle as officer Sheskey fired toward Blake’s back at close range.

If you are white, have you ever had to say these words? Can you imagine the fear, the grief, the rage?

We feel the horror of it as an intellectual construct.  But to be Black is to breathe it in like an inescapable poison gas.

If you are white you can look in the mirror and say the words, but it will not be your husband, your son, or your friend. 

So what will you do? 

What will we do?  Do we look the other way? Do we find a million tiny reasons not to feel the feelings and know the truth of his story? 

Or will we find within ourselves the one reason to make the world different and more just?

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