A Story of Privilege; An Acknowledgment of All I Don’t Know
I have a brother who likes to push back against authority. My brother who’s been known to correct a teacher. And a police officer. My brother who knows the technicalities of the rules. Of the law. And who isn’t afraid to point them out. My brother who gets this from my dad. Neither of whom I’ve ever worried about.
The first time I got stopped at an Alabama checkpoint, I was flabbergasted. This wasn’t a DUI check point on New Year’s Eve. They weren’t looking for a kidnapped child. This was a routine check point (I’d never heard of these before). I was on my way home from church with my daughter in the backseat. I’d forgotten my license. They waved me on anyway.
I’ve watched in horror as the events in Ferguson unfold. I don’t know what to say. I’m reading. I’m following. I’m learning. Because there is so much I don’t know. I don’t know what it’s like to have a black brother who likes to push against authority. I don’t know what it’s like to be a Hispanic woman stopped at an Alabama check point. I don’t know what it’s like to be an Alabama police office who can be sued by a citizen if caught “shirking their enforcement duties.” (Parts of these immigration laws in Alabama have since been repealed). I am personally grateful my husband isn’t a cop. Because their jobs are tough.
And I can’t. even. imagine. what it’s like to lose my baby boy. The one I carried, pushed out, cheered on, raised up.
I hesitate to write anything. I’m afraid of offending in my ignorance. I’m scared of misunderstanding. But I’m more concerned about seeming like I don’t care or that I agree with the people who express their views in this article.
I don’t know much. But I know I’m privileged. I know I need to learn more. So I’m following Christena Cleveland’s advice to “try to listen to marginalized voices and lament, and then go make noise among your privileged friends.” I’m listening. And starting to make some noise.