What do you see?

What do you see when you look at me?

I’m trying to understand why black people who are unarmed, non-threatening, and compliant with police demands are being shot to death in the country I was born in. I gave up trying to understand why people are so antagonistic towards those of us who are hurt by it. Why people are making such horrible comments, telling us to “go back to” somewhere we’re not from, and acting as though it’s “no big deal” because other people have been killed by police. Yes. Other people have. But does it happen as often to others? People who don’t look like me but who openly attack the police are taken in peacefully. But people who look like me… for some reason our very appearance is threatening.

Do I threaten you?

Look at me.
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I love my friends, like you love yours.
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I love my mother, like you love yours.
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I love food.
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I love a good sale at a thrift store.
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I’m a human being. What about me scares you? Do you feel fear looking at me? Tell me what it is that bothers you. Let me know. Because I don’t understand why these things keep happening again and again.

And I REALLY don’t understand why “they choked” is an adequate excuse for when an officer of the law, trained to deal with serious threats, takes an innocent, unarmed person’s life.

We are people. Living our lives. Yes, there are differences much of the time. You might make more money. You might have enjoyed more privileges. But that doesn’t make the people who are different from you threatening. We’re people. We love. We have hard days. We make mistakes. All of that is the same as what you experience. People are people. Please understand that. And if that’s difficult for you, put yourself in a position to learn things about any person who is different from you. I’m sure they’d be happy to share their experiences and to hear about yours. We can learn so much from each other. The most important thing we can learn is how alike we are.

Don’t be afraid of what’s different. Be curious. Check it out. Look into it.

Don’t be afraid.

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16 thoughts on “What do you see?

  1. I don’t know and I don’t understand either Gianni. Yes, you are different and you are the same. For all the reasons you’ve already said. I know you love your mum as much as I loved mine and all of us who have come from a loving home think we had the best mum in the world. And I will fight you on that one.

    I can’t condone anything that has happened. I can’t understand it.

    What I find equally disturbing though, is what another friend told me about, at her daughter’s school, “shadeism.” In case you don’t know, it’s where black kids, from all different backgrounds, “group” each other into different shades, so that one shade of black is better or worse than another. (Isn’t this slightly Hitler-esqe?).

    Hell. I don’t know the answers. I don’t even know if I know the questions. I don’t know where to go or how to make it right. I can’t say anything helpful. Is it just that we are really not so far removed from our animal cousins that we are still so territorial? I’m not sure that we are really very far from that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh I absolutely know about “shadeism.” My mother had to deal with that. And some of our sororities used to refuse people based on that (look up the “paper bag” test). I don’t condone any of it. Discrimination from our own kind or from someone else. None of it is acceptable. But I certainly won’t accept people killing people based on what they look like. If someone is threatening your life, fine. But if the only thing you find threatening is that they look different from you….nope.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. No you’re right. I am not minimising that. I try not to judge unless I know all the information, but on the face of it, it all looks wrong and I don’t understand why. The colour of skin is simply biology (as in darker skins perform better in sunnier climates). End of. It’s Darwinian biology. I don’t know what else to say. I can’t excuse anything, can’t explain it and certainly can’t justify it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I see a beautiful, intelligent, creative, thoughtful, kind hearted genius woman grappling with the bullshit oppressive injustice in the world and trying to figure out why such a great number of those who are less thoughtful, less intelligent and completely and utterly devoid of kindness in their pitiful hearts have access to the systematic tools and weaponry to (literally) destroy lives.

    There is no simple answer and I’m not sure if the complicated ones will help much either, but it needs to stop.

    On a more frivolous note, those pics of you are utterly stunning. Big hugs to you, Gianni.

    Lastly, my sentences are out of control. Look at the length of that beast up there! Somebody, stop me.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. oh hun. i am so sorry. i don’t understand it. i see a person when i look at you, same as when i look at any other person. i don’t get it. if you murder someone, i see a murderer, i still don’t think or see the colour of your skin. i don’t understand racism, and i seriously don’t understand how a country like the US is going backwards like this.

    I know this is a silly light story, but I was born with black hair and it turned to blonde. I was a natural blonde up until I was like 15. I was always so upset because my mum and brothers had brown hair! We all had brown eyes though. Anyway, my mum always used that to explain things to me – ‘judging that person based on their skin is like us judging you for your different hair colour. Is it your fault? Can you change it? Does it make you really any different?’

    I honestly don’t understand people who have such hate in their hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What’s funny is that we may not be going backwards so much as revealing what’s been suppressed/outlawed over the years. Such strong feelings that are deeply rooted in history can’t be got rid of overnight, so I guess it makes sense (especially with someone like Trump as a presidential candidate stirring up shit-storms right and left) that these feelings would resurface eventually. But the great thing is that for as many people who act out of hatred or fear, there seem to be others who act out of kindness. At least in 2016 it’s something we can talk about more freely, though it still makes people uncomfortable. I choose to be optimistic. 🙂

      Like

  5. What do I see? I see a woman with dark skin, who could come from one of any number of countries on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and whose heritage probably goes back to the African continent. Do I like her? I really don’t know until I have met her. She may be really nice, or she may be totally selfish and unscrupulous. Is she different from any other race, creed or color? At a superficial level, of course, but at a humane level…. absolutely not. It really is not complicated but, sadly, many people won’t agree with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I always want to know the full story in any event but I truly believe that things should be different today. Only in the Spirit of God does true unity occur. My best friends indeed are among the dark skinned Australian first nation people and I know this I love them as much as I love any other friends. There should in 2016 have to be no need to even explain. In the hearts of us all beats this desire for a better life, world and that love will triumph over evil in this world. Thanks for blog it surely expressed your thoughts and heart.

    Liked by 1 person

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