White people, be mindful of how we consume black grief

justiceforphilandoI am saddened and outraged that the system continues to perpetuate state sanctioned violence against black people in this country. But I will not share the video, I will not urge you to watch it. I watched it. I regret it. I had already seen the video from the car. I cannot unsee that one either. I did not need further proof that this was murder. It was. It broke my heart.

White people, be wary of the ways you consume black grief. There is a long history in this country of displaying violence against black bodies as a spectacle. If you need to watch Philando Castile die to decide what happened, then do so. But also, be careful posting it. Those images will likely re-traumatize people in your network.I have the privilege of watching these videos without thinking, “what if that were my father, my husband, my nephew?” – because I’ve had the privilege of knowing police will serve and protect me and my my white family. I grew up completely unaware that black people in my community did not view police the same way I did.

This man broke no laws and he is dead. That is outrageous and terrifying. And to make it even worse, there is no justice for his family. If you don’t understand the hundreds of years of history of this murder, the context, the anger, if you don’t understand why Black Lives Matter is a necessary movement, please educate yourself. I’m happy to recommend some great books and resources to you. For starters, I recommend The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

But even if you want to continue to deny that the system is designed to perpetuate violence against black people, then please, at the very least, respond with compassion for a family and community that lost someone they love.

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