By Lisel Thomas
For me, it was two days ago. I was watching a clip showing an African American man lying prone on his lawn, arms outstretched.
There were police shouting at him, guns drawn. An elderly African American woman was walking slowly towards the man, using a walking stick and unsteady on her feet. “Don’t shoot him, don’t shoot him”, she was saying, fear in her voice.
I’ve seen clips before where middle class African American parents talk about how they teach their children the safe way to behave if they are ever questioned by the police. “Always keep your hands where they can be seen” and “Ask if you can reach in your pocket for your ID”, their children are told. I used to tell my kids that if they were lost or in trouble, ask a police officer for help.
The elderly woman continues to move across the lawn. She gets to where the man is lying. There’s more shouting, the police come closer, the guns are still drawn, there’s a scuffle. I don’t quite see what’s happens next, whether she is tripped or throws herself, but the woman ends up lying on top of the African American man who is still face down on the lawn.
And that’s when I burst into tears. The injustice of what looks like a grandma trying to shield her grandson with her own body is too much.
What has our world come to when some of us can teach our children to go to the police for help and others have to teach our children how to avoid being shot and killed by those same police officers?
By the way, his crime was running a red light.
When did you last cry?