Institutional racism has been happening for all of America’s history, and yet I was oblivious to it until fairly recently. Even after I started dating Marcus, I wasn’t aware how much African Americans go through in this country.
This was especially obvious to me when I rented “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell a few days ago. I was simply looking for a book to help my socially-awkward self get better at, well, talking to strangers.
Instead, he started out by re-telling Sandra Bland’s story from 2015- a woman who’s name I vaguely remembered but don’t think I’d ever actually heard her story, at least not as detailed as he told it.
Basically though, Sandra, an African American female, was a civil rights activist. In 2015, she was pulled over for failing to use her blinker when she changed lanes. (How many of you can honestly say you use your blinker everytime you change lanes?) The situation escalated and she ended up being taken into police custody. Three days later she was found dead in her cell. It was ruled a suicide.
A similar traffic stop for me would have resulted in a simple warning, with me heading on my way. For Sandra, it cost her jail time & her life.
That’s white privilege.