Someone pissed me off this morning (from another comment thread, share this if you wish):
They aren’t killing the Carltons.
What a blind joke of a statement. As if the problem here is not enough black people act “Carlton” enough to avoid getting shot by police.
Since I’ve been compared more than once to that character, how about I let you in on what that means?
Being a Carlton means I had an almost pathological awareness of not just my actions, but the appearance of my actions. From the way I dress, to the words I choose, to ensuring I go above and beyond in public to assure anyone around me I’m not a fucking predator about to steal, kill, or rape them, most of my personality and interactions with people who don’t know me involve appearing as wholesome as possible. It means not using a fucking reusable shopping bag to hold my stuff when I go shopping, because I don’t want anyone to get the idea I may be shoplifting. It means having a whole list of daily behaviors no one white I’ve ever met thinks a moment about without discussion, because they are not under the same kind of social constraints.
Hanging out with black friends growing up, it meant getting asked why I was trying to be white. Hanging out with white friends growing up, it meant mostly making sure they stayed out of trouble. They didn’t feel the same restrictions I felt, and I learned quickly from the few times bad things almost went down that the hammer would drop quicker and harder on me than it would on them.
Being a Carlton means having to explain to my wife as we plan to have a baby why we have to raise that child to be more concerned and aware of how people perceive them than their mother has to.
Being a Carlton meant I spent four years in college earning a degree in law enforcement, and another five as a cop, because being a normal citizen wasn’t good enough. You throw statistics out about black violent crime and call them facts, but you don’t say anything about the complicated issues that go into that number. You say the black community needs to get it together, that these people are at fault for making the police shoot them. You spout symptoms, but want no discussion of causality. You are doing the same stuff you accuse the BLM movement of doing.
So the solution is everyone should be a god damned Carlton. Go back and watch that show. Look past the comic relief and the dancing, and you’ll see a character repressing so much of himself because he knows to even live a normal life he will be held to a higher standard than others around him, and I’m not talking about the other black people.
The next time you get it in your mind it’s as easy for black people to live regular lives and to be seen as law-abiding contributing citizens, think back to this conversation. With all of our social changes, affirmative action, whatever; on my worst day I’ve still had to watch myself and my actions more than my white peers, the entire time pushing against being one of the statistics you have pointed out. Being a Carlton is not an easy button, and it’s not something I would wish upon people or make a social goal for others. It’s a state of being you’ll never know, and will never have to experience.
What would you do if a group of people:
– threatened to divide your family, take your home, and send you “back” to a country you don’t know and may have never been?
– told you that because you don’t practice the “right” religion, you cannot be trusted, do not qualify for public assistance or public service, and anyone else like you cannot enter the country, even if it means they will face death?
– made it illegal for you to enter the public restroom of your gender, presuming your only purpose to enter would be to molest children and victimize others?
– tried to prevent you and citizens like you from voting by systematically reducing the number of polling locations and hours in areas where you are likely to live?
– began openly saying phrases and reintroducing terms used during an era of history where people of your skin color were openly persecuted, segregated, and dehumanized?
I haven’t known anyone in my life who would stand for this to happen to them and not say anything, not do anything, and not fight against it. I see people every day on my timeline that are doing this to others. Many of you have been friends and people who along the way have supported and helped me. I have difficulty understanding how you can distinguish between a person who was in your life personally and a person or group of people who are not.
I keep you on my friends list and timeline, and keep my picture up on my profile as a reminder that you know a human being who is different than you and can be affected by some of these hurtful ideas.
This is why I don’t remove you.
This is why I don’t post snarky or crude things about you.
This is why I separate a single political leader and group’s ramblings for power from their followers as people.
Make no mistake about me, I’m not a “that good one” anymore.
– I will support any effort to shut Trump’s insanity and his movement down.
– I don’t care if the nearest voting location is 100 miles away and only open for 30 minutes at 5am and I have to have a long form birth certificate tattooed on my ass, I’m going to vote, and I’ll support others to do the same.
– I support full LGBTQ equality.
– I support the complete separation of church and state, with it, religious freedom and equality, including the freedom to not practice any religion.
– I support an immigration policy that is open and sensible, recognizing the millions of undocumented immigrants already here who have built lives, homes, and families and are the reason we have affordable food and services. We have used them as the new slavery to build our country, and they have earned a place here.
– I support the end of the “war on drugs” and the mass incarcerations and uncontrolled property seizures resulting from it.
I don’t demand that you agree with me. I don’t demand that you go back where you came from. I don’t demand any change upon your daily life, the freedom of your family, or the safety of your home. Everything I support can be accomplished with no ill impact upon the life and lifestyle of the people who would oppose it. Unless, that is, you just can’t stand for other people to be as free as you believe you are.