Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Song for Sandra: Dash Cam Video Released in Traffic Stop of Sandra Bland

At 1:35 this morning I watched a 1:15 clip of the Sandra Bland dash cam video. As I watch Sandra Bland explain to the officer why she was upset at being pulled over for failing to signal a lane change, refuse to put out her cigarette, and refuse to get out of her car when asked, and then the officer go to one thousand for I assume being disrespected, my heart dropped and my stomach sank. We already know she died three days later in a jail cell with a trash bag wrapped around her neck. Seeing her fight for her last shreds of self-respect and dignity by resisting a power structure that assumes a person of black or brown skin is guilty until proven innocent regardless of an arrest, explanation of detainment, or being read miranda rights makes me ache.

We've seen this story before. Sanford. Jacksonville. Detroit. Ferguson. New York. Baltimore. Trayvon Martin. Jordan Davis. Renisha McBride. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Freddie Gray.

Whether walking home in the rain to see the All Star Game or bumping loud music during the Black Friday weekend vigilantes and police prove time and again Black Lives Don't Matter. Whether trying to get help after a traffic crash or walking in the middle of the street from the corner store (alleged robbery be damned) vigilantes and police prove time and again Black Lives Don't Matter. Just being seen in a drug infested neighborhood, or known to sell loose squares to make a buck on the block police prove time and again Black Lives Don't Matter.

You know what. I think they're right. Black Lives Don't Matter.

The audacity of me to think that my life, or my 6-month old son's life matters at all to people ignorant of their own privilege. The audacity of me to think that the lives of people whose skin is pigmented darker than beige matters to law enforcement officers who pick and choose for whom they will serve and protect. The audacity of me to think that the lives of men and women whose ancestors were brought here in chains, whose rights were stolen once we were told we were free, whose lives were taken by a rope swinging from a tree, who were blasted by water cannons, and eaten by dogs, and beaten with billy clubs matter to anyone but themselves.

Black Lives Don't Matter until they die.

The Amadou Diallo's and Sean Bell's and Oscar Grant's and Jonathan Ferrell's and Samuel Dubose's and Jonathan Sander's don't matter until they are no longer here to breathe air and speak up for themselves about the injustice they faced on the night they came face to face with boys in blue who had their gun barrels drawn and bullets firing before they could even understand what they did wrong.

So yes, Sandra Bland was pissed the day she was pulled over. Who doesn't get angry when they get pulled over. Furthermore, who doesn't get angry when they're pulled over after they've done what they perceived to be a courtesy to an officer who sped up to their bumper apparently in a rush to go absolutely nowhere.

Sandra Bland's anger is apparent. But so is the officer's indignation and superiority complex. It can be argued that Sandra Bland should have been kinder in her responses to the officer as decorum dictates, but there is no law banning people from being mean or irritable. In the end though, it is Sandra Bland who ends up having her womanhood violated, her agency taken away, her wrists yanked, her glasses snatched off of her face, her head slammed into a back up patrol car, and who cries through tears about her epilepsy and not being able to breathe to which the officer says "Good. I'm glad."

You see Black Lives Don't Matter. Until they are no longer here.

Now we will all use Sandra's name in a long line with a litany of others to sing for freedom in our best protest voices and hurtfully angered faces until someone tells us with a gun and confederate flag in hand that all lives matter.

Rest in Power Sandra Bland.

There is no peace on this Earth for us.

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