#DearWhitePeople: Returning to Work After Events of Racial Injustice Isn’t Easy

July 5, 2016, 12:35am : 37 year-old Alton Sterling is killed by Baton Rouge police officer outside of a convenient store while selling CD’s.

July 6, 2016, 9:06pm: 32 year-old Philando Castile is shot while reaching for his license during a routine traffic stop in St. Paul, Minnesota.

July 7, 2016, 8:58pm: 25 year-old Micah Xavier Johnson shoots twelve Dallas police officers, killing five.

This week we witnessed the dark part of history repeat itself once again with our very owns eyes via the advancements of technology known as Facebook Live, and video mobile recording. Since Tuesday, it has become impossible to avoid scrolling past horrific footage of two black men taking their last breathes of air while their children look on in confusion and terror due to law enforcement’s inability to provide an alternative outcome other than death by gun shot for the aforementioned men. On the evening of July 7th, yet another senseless act riddled the country drawing feelings of fear and distress even higher. It seems as though we are living in the Jim Crow era as the dividing line between blacks and whites becomes more apparent and reinforced. But again, we are challenged with conducting ‘business as usual.’

Whether or not you share the same melanin as Sterling and Castile merely hearing the chilling details of the recount of their annihilation will evoke feelings of agony and pain. But certainly knowing the history of black men being disproportionally targeted, and gunned down in the street like animals by the very people who proudly wear uniforms, who have sworn to serve and protect you, we cannot help but to feel enraged by the events that transpired. We cannot help but mourn for the victim’s family members and loved ones because we’ve watched how the murderers of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Kimani Grey, and many others walked away from the crime without any accountability, or conviction. Instead they went home to their families, held on to their pensions, and taunted families by auctioning off the murder weapon that ended someone’s life.  We cannot help but feel uncomfortable during our commute to work as reality sets in reminding us that we could be next as our eyes grace the pavement. The barren eye contact we make with non-melanated persons with privilege exists because they will never share this fear that we have to endure, they will never feel what we feel, for it is just another day of the week for them.

#DearWhitePeople, it’s hard to focus on meaningless tasks at work when tragedies occur, we are mentally and emotionally drained.  We need time to vent, to correlate some sense of rationale for how to move forward, to mourn, to cry, and to support our brothers and sisters. Give us your respect by acknowledging what happened, your silence does not equate to support. Don’t tell people of color that our experiences are an illusion, don’t tell us we don’t have all the information, don’t ask what happened before the cameras started rolling. #BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean other lives don’t.

 

 

Ashley Obasi

Ashley Obasi is the founder of BGG. She's also a PR strategist by day, and change-agent by default. She's so Chicago, and loves free food.

1 Comment
  1. Thank you! I’ll add that us being upset and wanting this to be acknowledged does not mean we cannot do our work, get our deals done, etc. Unfortunately we have learned to be resilient for centuries. But we have to start demanding acknowledgement, especially in these spaces where we may be the only black person or person of color our white peers know or respect. Who knows, maybe this can lead to more empathy.