White/Black Perspective

I would rather read a novel than watch most television/movies.

I do a lot of “serious” reading; I do a lot of, well, “escape” reading.

The last escape book I’ve read is The Force by Don Winslow. It is a gritty…read plenty of language…incredibly well written cop book.

The author is white. He has several black characters in the book.

One of the black characters is a woman (an emergency room nurse) who addresses the fact that her white cop boyfriend is infuriated because cops are being called out for abusive behavior etc.

She says, “I get you think that only other cops can understand what you go through. Y’all feel aggrieved because you’re blamed for killing Freddie Gray or Michael Bennett. But you don’t know how it feels to be blamed because you are Freddie Gray or Michael Bennett. You think people hate you because of what you do, but you don’t have to think that people hate you because of what you are. You can take the blue jacket off. I live twenty-four seven in this skin.

“Here’s what you can’t understand Denny – what you can’t understand, because you’re a white man, is the sheer…weight…of being black in this country. The sheer exhausting weight that presses your shoulders down and tires your eyes and makes it hurt just to walk sometimes…

“And you were right last night – sometimes I do hate my patients and I’m tired, Denny, tired of cleaning up the things they do to each other, we do to each other, and sometimes I hate them because they’re black like me and because it makes me wonder about myself…

“So that’s what we go through, baby…every damn day.”

As I read the book I reread those words several times; trying to understand…

I know I don’t understand; anymore than anyone can understand what it’s like to be a soldier returning the USofA from Vietnam unless you were one.

But this passage from this book floats around my brain; and brings me a little closer to understanding…