Fix it, white people

I was going to address this to Jackson, but this goes beyond Mississippi, beyond the South, and straight to the heart of this country I call home.


This morning three people I love and hold dear, a unit that we would call and recognize as a traditional family, were assaulted by the ignorance and fear masquerading as “civic duty” that seems to be becoming more and more commonplace. After enjoying a lovely breakfast at a nearby Waffle House, this family returned home to continue their quiet Sunday only to have their peace disturbed by the police who, having heard a report of two Mexicans who had kidnapped a child, showed up at their home demanding to see the child. I have no doubt that the police were as dismayed as the parents and the child, but there is no way in hell they were as shaken and harmed by their role in this assault as the victims of it.

Let this sink in for a moment: a six year old child was seen with a male and female who are bilingual and had the audacity to exercise their linguistic abilities in a public space, and this was reason enough for some “well-meaning citizen” to FOLLOW THEM OUT OF THE RESTAURANT, TAIL THEIR CAR, AND THEN CALL THE POLICE WITH AN ACCUSATION OF KIDNAPPING.

The mother? A tenured faculty member at the best college in this God-forsaken state. The father? A physician-in-training just finishing his rounds at the hospital. The child? Six. Years. Old.

Violent actions don’t always leave visible scars and don’t always look violent on the surface, but I promise you that this entire scenario bears the marks of the sort of violence that will become all too familiar in the days to come if we don’t get a grip on ourselves as a nation, as a people. The knock on the door, once a welcome thing, cannot help but become the potential harbinger of doom for so many of us in this time where “ordinary folks” take it upon themselves to judge what they see based on little to no actual information.

Fix this, white people. This is YOUR problem, not ours, the black and brown and native peoples of this land. Your fear—grounded in your expectations that your violent and racist history must of necessity dictate equally violent reaction from your victims—will be the thing that actually destroys your soul in the end.

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