I stay clear of much mainstream media these days (Fox News is a reprehensible joke of a news outlet) but there are so many channels out there for us to pick up info from I usually am fairly informed about current events anyways. As of this morning though I had not heard of Sandra Bland and the tragic story of her death.
I learned about the story of Sandra Bland through a post on a Mental Health Bloggers group I participate in that showed up on my Facebook news feed this morning. The poster was a member of the group also and had this to say:
If you are a mental health advocate in the online space w/a platform & voice, and haven’t yet had anything to say about #SandraBland & the stigma around mental illness that’s skewing opinion on her personhood & this case…or said ANYTHING about about her PERIOD…what exactly are you waiting for?
I see many WOC stepping up and speaking from their professional & lived experience but very few White MH advocates speaking up and being allies, esp from this angle. If you’re waiting for the “right” words, let me help you out by saying they’re just not going to show up.
You’ll keep waiting until the next hashtag is created. Your best bet is to just start talking like the rest of us are. When in doubt? Amplify amplify amplify amplify.
I responded back that I had no idea about what she was talking about but would check it out and try to support. I then read online news reports and watched the police vid about Sandra Bland and her arrest and death. The above is a YouTube video posted of the arrest.
Horrible, tragic and beyond sad. The arrest was ridiculous, the officer at the bit ready to take her into custody for being a little mouthy (and yes, I do think it is ok to say here it was ‘because she was of color’). He antagonized her for no reason – picking out the lit cigarette to harass her a bit, then when got her riled up amplified the situation by forcing her out of the car to make an arrest.
An arrest for what? She failed to put on her blinker when making a lane change? Give her a ticket, fine, but what ensued was nothing close to fine – or ok.
That’s how the story ends I learned as well, as Sandra spent three days in jail (again, for what?) became overly-despondent (she missed a first day at work of a new job and of course then would have most likely been fired before even starting) and ended her life by suicide.
Sickeningly tragic. Another life gone that should have been lived. She was young, attractive, educated… obviously has caring parents who now have to deal with all the aftermath via news outlets (I saw one interview) in addition to dealing privately with their loss. The loss of their daughter that never should have happened.
When are these situations – that seen so connected to race, color and a ‘black against white’ / ‘white against black’ war going on in this country – ever going to end?
I can say I am sick of being sickened by these stories. Returning back to the U.S. after many years abroad and starting to tune into current news events and seeing a few more of these horror stories play out (a hispanic man suffocated by 8 or so officers for not having an I.D., Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Rumain Brisbon, Trayvon Martin…) makes me angry.
I come from the days of Rodney King and the ‘why can’t we all just get along’ sentiment. What’s going on today seems to be amplified. Amplified racial hatred by an entrenched form of white supremacism. Then the counter-acts by those who justifiably feel oppressed and victimized and create the myriad of ‘those of color against white’ / ‘black against white’ groups.
Personally I’m sick of both. Why can’t we all just get along?
The police are the end result of what goes on at a much higher level; some conditioned by racists beliefs, many not racist at all (white, black or of any color) but have to live in a racist-dominated culture. And work as police officers in communities where racial tension and hatred is prevalent.
It makes me sick, and I am sick of it.
This isn’t an ‘all cops are bad’ story – or blog post that in any way expresses that sentiment – or an ‘all blacks arrested by police are the victims of racial discrimination‘ statement.
Neither are true. As sickening as is the story of Sandra Bland and the few others mentioned above who’ve made news headlines in recent years are the stories of police officers murdered in retaliation. Or killed simply because they are cops.
Often the police who are then victimized are not even the ones who were involved in the initial arrest. For example, the two officers shot in Ferguson during a protest after Michael Brown’s death. Police officers murdered in New York, Las Vegas. Cops killed in cities and communities throughout the country.
The stories seem endless and all are equally-tragic. That’s all I have to say today.