It is taken me awhile to write about Sandra Bland. In fact, it’s taken me exactly two weeks since her death to be able to get the words out of my head and into a coherent post. But not for lack of trying.
I’ve tried to calm my anxiety. I’ve tried to erase my own fear that Sandy Bland and I are a just a bit too similar in that her reaction to that officer felt “right” and “natural” and so…likely mine. I’ve tried to ignore that even though I am close to twice her age, she was, at 28, who I wished I had been at that age. A courageous, confident, assertive speaker-of-truth-to-power as opposed to the confidently-quite-positive-that-the-system-works-if-you-do-what-good-white-people-tell-you-to-do-to-be-successful person that I was at that age.
I’m aware that Sandy Bland and I are different generations. I’m quite old enough to be her mother, and in fact, my oldest child is but a mere three years younger than her. Their generation has grown up with the internet and is used to seeing in full color on a daily basis just how badly the system does not work for black folks. At her age for me, these facts were not widely circulated and known by those of us who had “made it”. Get your education. Speak proper English. Act respectable. Get a job. Be successful. Duh. That’s what I once bought into.
But through a series of events and circumstances, my eyes were opened to the myth of respectability politics and I began to see….I mean not just see…but really SEE…with my own eyes just how rigged the system is and how white supremacy and the institutional racism actually define America. I was much later to this truth than Sandra.
And fortunately, I know too. It took me longer than you, but I know and will continue to speak truth to power, if it costs me my life. It costs you yours but your death will not be in vain.
You are still speaking Sandy. And I hear you loud and clear.
#SandySpeaks #SayHerName #JusticeForSandy #SandraBland