Usually I try and make a joke to start off my posts, but when it comes to Sandra Bland, I have none. I have no jokes, punchlines, or excuses. All I have at this point are questions or fear.
I titled this post as I did because I meant it. If you’re black, you should feel something for Sandra Bland. You should understand the fact that in this day and age, being black and interacting with a police officer is enough to get you killed. It’s not a joke, or an exaggeration. Look at Mike Brown and Tamir Rice.
Sandra Bland did not wake up that day thinking that she was going to be arrested. I’m sure her mind was pointed towards the new job she’d be starting in five days. While in jail, I’m sure her thoughts weren’t on committing the suicide that no one believes was suicide.
If you’re black, you should feel something for Sandra Bland because you should understand that it could have been you. In this day and age, no matter how much of a “law abiding citizen” you might be, right is right and wrong is wrong. If a police officer doesn’t tell you what you’re under arrest for, you’re going to ask. If a police officer tells you to put out a cigarette in your own car and you don’t do it, you’re going to understand that its your car and you can do whatever you want to do.
The thing about watching the Sandra Bland video is that I can see myself in that video. Not only me though, I can see my friends, my family and a lot of people I know. I would have reacted the same way. Sandra Bland was loud and screaming because she probably knew what anyone who watched the video and thought about it would think; “I need to be loud because there needs to be proof.” I would have done the same. Knowing that the Dashcams are recording, I would have made as much noise as possible because I needed people to hear what was happening. I would have done just like her and encouraged the civilian who was recording to keep recording.
Sandra Bland screamed to the arresting officer about how he was possibly going to break her wrists. She let him know that he had slammed her head into the ground and she couldn’t hear too well because of it. If you’re a person of color, that could be you, and you should understand that.
I hurt for her and her family because I feel for their loss. I don’t want to have a Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell, etc in my family, in my friend group or among my students. The problem is that sadly, it’s not my choice. I can just be me walking down the street and in this day and age, that’s enough to get me killed.
Now would be the part when I offer up a solution, but I don’t have one.