Today we are very excited to launch #TalkItOutTuesday! This segment will focus on many issues such as relationships, inequality, mental health, economic, cultural structures, and their intersections with social class, race, immigrant status, sexuality, gender, etc.
This week we are so fortunate to have Kurterry Singleton as our first author for #TalkItOutTuesday! Kurterry's blog focuses on the personal effect that the Black Lives Matter movement, racism, and police brutality has had in his life. As an educated young African American man, Kurterry speaks towards his trials and tribulations throughout this time, with a gleam of hope for our future. His blog is extremely moving and touches upon ideals that as allies we cannot begin to fathom.
Thank you, Kurterry for sharing your story!
How am I Doing?
Written by Kurterry Singleton
How am I doing? That’s what everyone seems to want to know.
Early morning texts, emails from work, and notifications from social media, all from people asking “how are you doing”, “how are you holding up,” and “how do you feel?” Such simple questions, they’re yet so hard to answer right now.
How am I doing? Before I answer, there are some things you need to know about me to understand how I am feeling.
First off, I am an educated young African American man. But, if you want the description the police may get, I’m a young black guy with an afro and a tattoo on my chest. I am from Chicago and not one of the better neighborhoods there. So with that, you can be sure that I am not happy currently; but, it isn’t as simple as me being sad or scared or even angry. I am feeling so many emotions currently that even I do not understand completely. To help myself and hopefully help others understand what I’m going through, I’m going to try and walk through everything I am feeling right now.
Let's start with my sadness.
I am sad for George Floyd. Sad because his life was unjustly taken too early. Sad that he was forced to leave his children behind and sad that the past has shown that he may not get justice. I am sad for his whole family and all of his friends. Most of all, I am sad that this is not the first, second, or third instance of police brutality. I am sad that black people are constantly being killed by cops and that it will continue to happen unless we change the system and put an end to racism and police brutality.
I also feel scared.
To expand upon my "police description," I am an athlete. So, I have a more athletic build and if I am wearing a tank top, I may dare say I even look muscular. Normally that’s a good quality for a man, but on black men, it somehow becomes frightening. Due to my “police description,” I have been stopped by the cops before. Once a cop stopped me a block away from my house because I “looked like I was walking with a gun.” In fact, I was going to the store to get snacks for my grandma.
Due to instances like that, I know that I can end up in the same position as George Floyd or Eric Garner. Many people tell me to just live an honest and straight life, and that will never happen. They truly underestimate how many black people are stopped every day simply for the color of their skin.
It’s as simple as someone giving a description of “a young black guy,” or just a cop believing I “look like I have a gun.” So every time I hear that another black person was killed by a cop, I become more and more scared to even walk out of the house. Many black people have that same fear. It seems like it comes with being black in America, but if you have an unjustified fear of something or someone for so long, eventually that fear turns into anger.
Anger is another emotion I feel right now.
There are so many things to be angry at! I feel anger towards the cop that kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. I'm furious that even after knowing he killed a human being, he kept his knee there. I’m also angry at the other officers that did nothing at all to help a human being that was dying right in their faces. I’m angry at all cops who try to justify something so horrible as if unnecessarily taking a human life is not one of the worst things a person can do.
I am even angrier that so many Americans still can’t see the problem within this country, and as much as I don’t want to be, I am also angry with all the people and companies who choose this moment to finally wake up. I appreciate everyone who has cried out, but I can’t help but wonder why now? So many innocent black people have died in the last 10 years and beyond, yet now people finally see it as a problem. I can’t help but think how many lives could have been saved between now and 2014 if more people cried out after Mike Brown or Eric Garner was killed. Maybe George Floyd would still be here with his family if more people took action then!
Beyond that, I am outraged that we even have to scream that “Black Lives Matter” in the streets. That shouldn't be something we have to convince people of in 2020.
In the 1700s, black lives were worth only ⅗ as much as a white person's life, and it seems centuries later, we’re still struggling to equal a full human being. I am angry at the “all lives matter” supporters. If all lives truly matter, why aren’t you also fighting against police brutality? Why don’t you seem bothered about the lives that have been taken? Do you not consider these human lives in your definition of “all?”
Countering a movement that is trying to protect lives is not showing that “all lives matter.” Equally as angering is all the people who try to dismiss the protests because of the looting. Whether or not you agree that the true protestors are actually taking part in the looting is irrelevant. At the end of the day, focusing on the looting is another way to ignore the true issue. Looting always stops eventually, whether it takes a few days or some weeks. Racism and police brutality have been problems in this country for way too long and they have done much more damage than a week of lotting! All of those things are all just a few things that have me livid!
As I come to a conclusion, it has been a few weeks since George Floyd was killed. As the days went on during these past few weeks, another feeling has popped up within me. Seeing all the different reactions to his death and to the Black Lives Matter movement, I am now starting to feel a bit of hope!
There are still many negative people trying to counter every point of the BLM movement and some are even spreading hate, but there are so many that have spoken out to share their support. Celebrities, government officials, and even companies have spoken out against police brutality and racism, and not just in America. To hear that there has been worldwide support has given me so much hope! It shows that our cries aren’t falling on deaf ears only. I just hope we can continue working together in order to fight these issues in our society.
These past few weeks have been really tough for me. I have felt so much sadness, fear, and anger, but through this tragedy, there is some hope that change will come.
Even after weeks of protest, the names of more black people killed by officers, and even Black people found hanging in trees continue to pop up in the news. Obviously, things won't change in a few weeks, but this is the moment to take action and stop incidents like these from happening.
I hope in the future that I will be able to tell my kids that this is the moment that sparked a major change in America.
I hope this is the moment where the world finally realizes that Black Lives indeed matter!