#BlackLivesMatter, African American, Black, Black Feminism, Black Lives Matter, Black people, Black Women, California, Change, Disappointment, Discrimination, Eric Garner, Ezell Ford, Freddie Gray, New York Public Library, North Carolina, Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Texas, Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott
If you don’t know, there is a theory floating around that #SandraBland was already dead and on the ground in her mug shot. You can google to find pictures and specifics of the claims, but I won’t be posting them here because honestly the whole thing is just too much for me to handle right now. I’ve been wrestling with what is so unsettling about this particular case but each bout with my thoughts and feelings just leaves me feeling empty and disheartened.
The best I can come up with right now is that the entirely inevitable death of Sandra Bland confirms my deepest fear that thee is no place for me to exist here. It does not matter who you are or how closely you align yourself with being “respectable” and “trustworthy,” when it comes down to it, respectability won’t save you. When it comes down to it, nothing will. Ms. Bland had a college degree, she worked hard and had just landed a new job, and she was pulled over for failing to signal, the most minor of infractions. She knew her rights and let the police officer know. She evoked her fragility as a human being hurt and as one who suffers from mental illness. There is nothing to fall back on that separates me from her. There is nothing to keep me from tensing when I see a police officer or shaking when I get pulled over.
There is nothing left to keep from entirely ripping asunder what’s left of my very fragile reality that there is somewhere that I–and the people I love and the people that look like me and those that share my native ancestry and all these other groups–can be safe. Because right now it seems like nowhere is safe; not in my own neighborhood (Trayvon), not at the park (Tamir Rice), not in my home (Yvette Smith), not in my car (Jerame Reid, LaTanya Haggerty), not in the custody of those sworn to protect us (Tanisha Anderson, Freddie Gray, Natasha McKenna), not in California (Oscar Grant, Ezell Ford), North Carolina (Walter Scott), Florida (Lavall Hall), Texas (Sandra Bland) or New York (Eric Garner). The reality of the situation is that Black life is not precious and valued and protected here, and how does one keep going through the motions, let alone planning for the future when I look in the mirror and everyday find it more and more difficult to convince me that my fight for my own life and happiness is not entirely futile.
I can now understand with my mind as well as my whole heart why Black people expatriate from the U.S.–there is certainly colorism and racism everywhere, but at least as a U.S. National in Europe, Canada etc., my family and children will be ALIVE to experience it. Reminiscent of the era of the Fugitive Slave Act, we are being hunted without chains.
As to whether or not she is dead in the picture? My mental state is too precarious to dig deeper into the repercussions of that as truth.
Note: I am really just posting this status so that someone can link me to the side view and less cropped mugshots that show her name board so I can see she’s really alive. I spent a lot of time last night looking for them myself on the Waller county website: you can find her arrest record but the mugshot webpage is down:/. Anything that I can grasp on to as refuting that possibility.