Endangered Species

Watching the outrage on Facebook is often frustrating. It amazes me how many people make assumptions that are complete fallacies and they have no idea they’re doing it. They think they’re using logic. Fallacies however are not based in logic. They are a stretch at best.


The recent outrage over the death of Cecil the Lion has spawned a whole new wave of such assumptions and conclusions. On the one side, you have those who are outraged because a hunter took unfair advantage of an animal, depriving it of its life with a man-made weapon in a simple Peta-esque sort of way. On another side of it, those who are enraged that a man who by all appearances seems to think he’s entitled, killed an endangered species without regard to the fact that the species is dying out and contributing to that fact. On a third side, there are those who assume that those who are outraged over Cecil’s death are not outraged over the deaths of black women in police custody or black men being killed in the streets by cops for non-death penalty offenses or trumped up offenses.


The truth is that those of us outraged over Cecil’s death are also outraged over the deaths of black men and women who should not be dead. And while this fallacy was presented by one or more sources on Facebook, its comparison is not really that far of a stretch. It involves the fact that neither the people, nor the Lion did anything that warranted their deaths. And in this liberal’s humble opinion, both are endangered species of a sort.


Now don’t go assuming I just called black people animals. I have way more respect for human beings to do such a thing. The truth is, however, that black people are in danger at all times by the simple reason that they have dark skin. Sadly, this is true of being inside their homes as well as being out in public. They’re endangered by the system itself. People who have not lived as black or lived among them and witnessed it for themselves don’t fully grasp it, and most who HAVE lived among them don’t see it either. At least those incapable of empathy can’t see it, but when you watch a friend mistreated just because of the color of their skin, it tends to change you. It opens your mind to just how much they’re mistreated. You start seeing other ways that other people mistreat them.


I had a friend in Syracuse who was pulled over because she was black and in a nice new black SUV. The officer pulled a gun on her for taking the time to calm her very sick sister down before letting down her window. She even asked the officer nicely to please be patient as her sister was hysterical. He wasn’t listening. She survived the incident without being shot, but it could have gone much worse. This same girl was being abused by her white nurse coworkers and was told by the union she went to in order to seek help with the situation that it wouldn’t be worth fighting because they’d make her miserable until they pushed her into quitting. When is it enough? How far will they take it before they realize they’re contributing to the problem?
During the 4 years I lived in Syracuse, a black toddler was killed in the crossfire of competing drug gangs. The toddler was sleeping in his own bed, in his own room when a bullet penetrated the wall by his bed. As I said, not even safe inside their homes. And none of them are safe.


Our society has taught white people to be afraid of black people. They’ve done so through the use of the media. They report on black on black crime and racial tension events, ignoring the indiscretions, crimes and discrimination of white people toward black people. They create an illusion that black people are lesser people by using their success rates in life itself all while creating the roadblocks that contribute to their failures. And Heaven forbid a black man or woman be successful. It can’t be because they’re very intelligent and worked hard, it MUST be about the laws in place that force companies to hire equally, to admit to colleges equally, to treat black people equally to whites. Sorry to burst your bubble GOP, but some black people are just smart and work hard and break the stereotypes you’ve created and feed on a regular basis. The right wing insists on believing Affirmative Action is the only way black people can get into good schools and get good jobs and that their abilities have nothing to do with it. But it is just as common for there to be intelligent black people as intelligent white ones. And it’s just as common to have ignorant white people as black ones. The fact is, intelligence has nothing to do with race or gender. So the right wing has fabricated these ideals to appease their insecurity. And those not smart enough to create these stereotypes buy into them and parrot them; all to make themselves feel superior to people that don’t look like them.


It is possible to end these systemic issues but it will take more than black people standing up and fighting for their rights. As a single black person, they put themselves in danger just suggesting their rights are being violated, which is what got many of these men and women who have died in police custody killed. There are those who suggest that #blacklivesmatter protests are just black people demanding more rights than others, but all they’re asking for is the very same rights so many white people take for granted. And they’re asking for justice that they’re not getting. And these protests are a people trying to stand up and say ENOUGH. They’re trying to be heard in a system that suppresses and oppresses their voices and their very existence. What it’s going to take is for people of all races to come together and say THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. It’s going to take us voting together as one to eliminate those who feed these stereotypes and eliminate the laws that are designed to protect them, to remove those who refuse to enforce the laws that are still on the books evenly, fairly and correctly. It’s going to take white cops standing up to other white cops and saying “what you’re doing is wrong”. It’s going to take us standing together and saying we are all human and as such, all deserve to be treated fairly and equally. We can no longer remain silent and ‘not get involved’. To do so is to condone these behaviors that cost black lives. To do so is to allow cops to continue to murder people and cover it up by calling it justified despite video that says otherwise.


I’m not saying that as a white woman with only daughters that I understand what black mothers face when they have children. But I know that I would be devastated to lose one of my children and cannot imagine what it must be like to have to teach my children to just do as they’re told and to avoid any kind of confrontation with the law because their lives are at risk in any given situation. I can imagine what it’s like to worry about what the adults and adolescents in my own neighborhood are doing because their actions put my children at risk. I’ve lived among them and that part I fully understand. But I did not live with the fear that desperation would drive my children to join their ranks. I didn’t have to live with the fact that hormonal teenagers harbor resentment for that kind of life and that surviving with those resentments is a major hurtle for many of them. I can see why so many of them are so angry. They have every right to be. I’ve also lived among rednecks who are quick to say “they’ve never been slaves themselves so what are they angry about?” How can one be so sure of that? They may not be calling anyone master and they may not be living on a plantation. They may be getting paid when they do work, but that doesn’t make them less of a slave to the system. That’s not to say that none of the white working poor are any less of a slave to the system but it’s much more common among black communities. And the system feeds the poor white communities the idea that it’s in their hands to change their situation but that they’re poor because blacks or immigrants are taking their jobs when that’s simply not true. Good paying jobs are not being taken from poor whites and given to poor blacks or immigrants, they’re being outsourced. Yet these poor whites believe the lies they’re being told and continue to vote against the best interests of all the poor in this country because they’ve been force fed these lies and believe them because their education has been cut to the bare bones. They’ve been taught to pass tests instead of to question what they’re told and to think for themselves.


The only way to change is to come together as one and speak in once voice. The best way to do that is to vote. But it can also be done by participating in community events. We can stand, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American hand in hand and speak in one voice ENOUGH. We as a nation must stop fighting amongst ourselves and stand together to fight for all of us against a system controlled by Corporations. This is the only way revolution can happen. It’s the only true path to change. We must realize and accept our differences but to stand together in our similarities. We all want the same things; peace, fairness, opportunity, stability, and better for our children. And if we decide that animals are suffering and dying at the hands of the same people that humans are, we stand up for them too.

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