Monday, December 8, 2014

OpEd: Race Relations in the Piedmont Triad ~~ Waiting for Thanksgiving

By Carly Pete

Thanksgiving is my favorite food event not counting family members’ birthdays. This year’s planning was interrupted by an announcement the Monday before that the grand jury in Ferguson did not indict the murderer of Michael Brown, an unarmed local teen.

Bamboozled, duped, hoodwinked. What?

How could this possibly be? There were multiple eyewitness accounts to the killing, one even contemporaneous to the shooting. But the 12-member grand jury – six white men, three white women, two black women and one black man – voted no indictment; nine votes were needed to indict.

Do the math.

I’m troubled about the three-month delay announcing this decision, as well as its timing, choosing to announce during the week of Thanksgiving. Were black people supposed to drown our sorrows in turkey, dressing, gravy, and other comfort foods? Maybe, eat cake and get over it? I can’t swallow.

White policemen are killing black boys.

During their teenage years was when I first noticed a change in the way my sons were treated by white police officers. As they grew, which coincided with them leaving the safety of our yard, they sometimes met with friends on the corner where we lived: Policemen told them they couldn’t “congregate” on the corner. The further they strayed into society – high school, the park, the mall – unaccompanied by my husband or me, the more attention they attracted from police. My sons constantly complained that the police officers harassed the black kids, but seemed oblivious to what the white kids said and did. My sons survived; however, potentially life threatening encounters with local police did occur. My sons now have sons.

Black men are men.

Let’s face it. Generally speaking, it’s not black officers or female officers who are killing young black men, it is white policemen. In fact, many black officers working undercover have themselves been killed by fellow white male officers. Something is deadly wrong here; we need to fix this, for all our sakes.

Waiting for Thanksgiving…

I boycotted Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year. I’m waiting for justice.

About Carly Pete: Carly, a 2013 graduate of Salem College, earned B.A. degrees in Communication and Creative Writing. She resides in Winston-Salem, where she works as a communication consultant, lyricist and writer.

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