Below is a letter I wrote to my police department this morning and a little insight on what is going on in this country. This is only MY opinion and how I feel about everything.
Dear Boston Police Department
My name is Janelle. I was not raised in Massachusetts; rather I was raised in the cushy suburbs of Connecticut. My family and I did live in Florida for a brief while when I was 7 years old and there I experienced my first bout with racism. At the tender age of 7, I did not know exactly what racism was. My parents never taught me that people were better or less than depending on their skin tone. In 3rd grade, I liked this Caucasian boy (can’t recall his name now) and he flat out told me that he could not like me because I was black and his mother told him he could not like black people, but he could only be my friend. When I invited that same boy to my birthday party, he was noticeably absent.
As a child I was able to bounce back quickly and it didn’t hit my heart as hard as it would have if it happened to me in my 20’s, when I understood the world a bit more. I’ve been told in college by a few frat bros that I am “gorgeous for a black girl”, another small racist remark that was said without thinking (or maybe they knew exactly what they were saying). It is as if to say that women of color or people of color (for that matter) are not considered attractive when we all know that to be false as well. Experiencing these things I could have formed an opinion of all white people as a whole and think that they are all the same; racist, rude and ignorant people who all hate blacks and minorities. I was raised by amazing parents and attended some of the best schools in Connecticut (where I met my best friends to this day who happen to be Caucasian) and went to college (where I met my boyfriend of 3 years who is also Caucasian, as well as more great friends) where I gained an education and was able to form my own opinions of those around me by how that individual treated those around me and how they treated me.
In the wake of all that is going on in Ferguson, MO and most recently, Baltimore, MD it is hard not to feel angry at first. However, my anger isn’t towards all police as a whole, my anger and sadness is based on the fact that this is still going on from both sides. Police using physical force to the point someone is badly hurt or killed and blacks becoming so outraged and fed up that they result to rioting and looting etc in order to be heard. Racism is alive and sadly will continue to live, but we need to approach it in a different way. We expect to get different results by reacting in the same way and that is ludicrous.
It is not my position to tell people how to grieve, as we all grieve in different ways, but if I can give one piece of advice to those physically in the trenches, it is that peacefulness solves more and is heard way louder than physical forces of anger. Just because we scream louder in an argument does not mean our point will be received well or even heard. It may be heard for the moment, but what about the long run; what about when our children’s children have children? We need our educated young (and old) black men and women to be examples and sit down with the heads of police, congressmen and even the POTUS himself, and have a discussion on how we can make this trending issue better so that it does not happen again. We need to keep knocking on their doors until change happens, until we see LOVE rather than HATE on our tv screens.
This morning, April 30th 2015, I walked up to a Boston police officer and hugged him and thanked him for his service. I let him know that when I see those uniforms in my town or when I’m out I feel safer, but I can only speak for myself personally. I told him I will not be ignorant and lump all police officers into one stereotype that they all are out to kill blacks and minorities. If we do that, then the act of us getting angry when they label all minorities as thugs and hoodlums is null and void.
So I write all this to say, Thank you. Thank you for protecting us in this strong and beautiful city. It means a lot to me, and if I could hug all of you, I would.
-A young, educated and motivated black woman.
Leave comments below on how you feel about what is going on. I’d love to hear from you!