Don’t Shoot, He’s My Son

I don’t know how many of you have seen “Dear White People” but it’s both an amazing show and a heart breaking commentary on how we treat race. If you think it doesn’t represent you because you happen to be Canadian, rather than American you’re wrong.

There’s a line in one of the later episodes where the Dean of Students (A black man) realizes his son is being arrested. They go slow motion as he realizes this and suddenly he screams “Don’t Shoot, he’s my son!” I gasped, I cried out, I shed a tear or two and had to take a deep breath. And then I got fucking angry.

I was angry because I realized the Dean of Students played by Obba Babatundé, had been up until this point in the show ignoring the racism that his son and the other Black students face every day. I realized that like myself he’d been ignoring him because in his particular situation as Dean of Students the racism worked for him.

Once I realized that this was what was happening it became nauseating to sit and watch Obba’s character suck up to the white characters.

It reminded me repeatedly of all the times something happened to me that, at the time I didn’t see as Racist until I looked back over it.

Like the time I went to a bar surrounded by white friends and was the only one checked for I.D. As I didn’t have any on me, I was the only one asked to leave…on my twenty-ninth birthday.

The time I was charged with Jay-Walking, when two other white people were excused, by a white cop.

Every time a white person says “you’re the whitest black person I know.”

Dear White People doesn’t just point out racism, it wakes you up to the bullshit you put up with when you are colored, because you’re so used to it that you become blind to the blatant racism slapped in your face.

It made me feel bad about myself to be honest with you. I have always known that I am not dark enough for the black people and not white enough for the white people but this show just reinforces that idea. There are different levels of “color” there are different ranks.

I’ve never been particularly comfortable around other Black People – no one in the Black Community has ever handed me a card and said “Welcome to the club.” I don’t know at thirty-four years old, where I really belong because I didn’t have the chance to go to College and learn. I am taking every day as it comes and dealing it the best that I can because it’s all I know how to do.

I do know that I am lucky to live in Canada – that even though I’ve learned through watching others, and from personal experience that cops aren’t going to protect me when I need them to. I do know that even with cops I know pretty well I get a sliver of fear running down my spine when I find myself in a close space with one.

I know that I’ve had to deal with racism and yet when I try to talk to people about it, especially people of color I get the roll of the eyes.

No, I’ve never had a gun pulled on me…at least not by a cop, but I know that fear. I have it in me every time I think about going to the border. I think about it every time I hear a siren. I think about the millions of men and women of color who have been killed by guns – by blatant racism.

I have been thinking hard about the Southern Monuments that people want torn down and I’m fucking angry about it. The White people say that these monuments are reminders of “How the South Won” while Black people say that it’s a reminder of atrocities done to our people.

Here’s my question:

With everything that Martin Luther King and the Freedom Fighters (because let’s face it that’s exactly what they were) went through, why the fuck would you want to tear those reminders down?!

They are not as white people want to convince you, a reminder of southern culture. They are a reminder of the lives that were lost and stolen in the fight for freedom of Black people. Don’t tear down them. Re-Invent them.

Teach children why these monuments are there, why they are important reminders of Black History in America. I want to see them when I finally have the courage to visit the USA. I want to stand at the foot of every one of them and leave flowers for those who have died so that our people could be free.

You tear down history you erase it. I don’t want to see Americana History erased because if we erase the reminders, we will enter a time when people will simply stop talking about it.

They will stop talking about the reasons that Black people are still fighting the same fucking fights a hundred years later. I want my children to know that white people in America owned Black Slaves. I want them to know that our ancestors were raped, beaten, abused, tortured. I want them to know the amazing phenomenal lienge they come from. I want them to be proud to be black, no matter how light or dark their skin may be.

Erasing our history doesn’t honor the dead, and it doesn’t make it go away. It’s just another way to let the white men and women who owned slaves, who believe we should still own slaves off the hook. I’m not ready to do that yet. I’m not ready to erase the fact that Canadians like to pretend we slaved thousands of slaves while ignoring the fact that while Canadian’s did help Black people, they were doing the same things to Aboriginals.

No. Don’t take down the monuments. Make them bigger. Change the meaning. Turn them into reminders of why we fight.

Am I wrong here? You tell me.

All my love,

D

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Shoot, He’s My Son

  1. I think you’re hit on the core of the problem with those monuments, not to mention that flag. What do they mean? What is the story we need them to tell? Tho9se who want them taken down see in them the story told through them by their enemies. That is what they are, enemies, not just “people with a different point of view”. I suspect that really changing the story would enrage the racists even more than the removal.

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