AMM: Since our last post, a grand jury indicted one officer in relation to the shooting of Breonna Taylor but no officers were charged for their role in her death and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away of complications from pancreatic cancer. Erin and I shared our thoughts with one another in light of all that has happened and decided to write from our perspectives our ideas on what this means to be a woman during these times in the United States.
EL: Yeah, when we had this meeting about the upcoming blog post, it was the day Breonna Taylor’s murderers walked free. I use this word to describe the police officers because on this day, that's who they were, murderers, whether they intended to be or not, Breonna Taylor was an innocent woman sleeping in her bed, and on that night, because of negligence, and mishandling she never saw the next day. I’ve been thinking about Breonna Taylor a lot, I’ve been thinking about how she is all of us. I am a woman who frequently sleeps alone in her own home, and this could just as easily have been me. Except, I can’t help thinking that if it were me, my family would have gotten justice because of the color of my skin. I think I needed to write about Breonna Taylor’s death because I’m afraid that a lot of people who look like me, struggle to see her in themselves. I think part of the reason we are so divided between black and white, us and them, me versus others, is because we have lost the capacity of empathy for those who we deem NOT like us, and in my estimation, this is leading us to deadly possibilities. I don’t think this is all our individual faults! Other people- are purposely not positively represented in white society so that the only times we experience them (if you live in a more rural/midwestern/white community) is on the evening news being prosecuted for crimes. Which maybe makes us feel like the Black experience is the same of every Black life, this is not the case.
AMM: To be a woman, to be a Black woman more specifically comes with many challenging realities that cannot be unfelt, unimagined, unacknowledged…it requires you to be completely aware of yourself, your surroundings, and how to move within those surroundings without protection. Unfortunately for Breonna, this was taken away from her.
EL: I read an article about Breonna Taylor’s mother and how she would endlessly call each week, after a night shift at the hospital, to ask for her mother’s chili recipe, and her mother’s reaction was the same every time--why didn’t she write it down--Breonna’s response was something I would say to my own mother: “why would I write it down when I can just call my Momma.” I have to say, this moment, it’s the one that broke me, I saw myself in her, and it made me terrified for what we are becoming as a society. We have been divided through the system we exist within from the start and we are all having to unlearn so much, that a lot of the time it hurts deeply, that things we once believed no longer ring true. What I fully believe is that if each of us, whatever background we come from, starts from a place of trying to listen and understand one another, and see ourselves in others--and us in them--that we can fix what we’ve created, together, but it’s all gonna have to start from a place of caring about others first rather than assuming the worst about everyone.
The other thing on my mind this week is the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who I owe for most of the things I am able to accomplish in my life. I know this brands me as a liberal, but I don’t think that’s fully the extent to which RBG’s legacy is, her life paved the way for all women to have rights in ways unthinkable before her legacy. Her passing has made me contemplative of the rights I am given because of laws directly affected by her legacy. It would be a misstep to not acknowledge her contribution to the lives of American women.
AMM: You know, I actually imagined a conversation between the ghosts of Justice Ginsburg and Breonna Taylor. I pictured Ginsburg embracing a young Taylor with the love of a grandmother and wiping her tears and Breonna still trying to understand what happened.
What words would be uttered between the two women? Would Ginsburg offer an apology on behalf of the men who murdered Taylor in her home? Would Taylor question the “no-knock warrant” and its legitimacy? Would she ask of Ginsburg how the endangerment of her neighbors was worth more than her life, in HER home and how was the use of force justified by the officers when they wrongly invaded her home?
Whatever the questions, we both know that we are living in a time of unprecedented strife in America. There appears to be contention to the understanding of the meaning of Black lives versus all lives, but the conversation is much bigger than the Black and White racial discord. Anything outside of the dominant acceptance is social death. It is able-bodied against disabled body; it is heterosexuals in opposition of same sex lifestyles and it goes on and on. Is it too much to want something utopian? Is the transgender person really affecting your personal lifestyle? Just as all of the caution was taken, almost to the verge of ostracization happened when the AIDS epidemic surfaced, people believed themselves to be immediately susceptible to the virus if they were standing near someone who had been infected.
Common sense was thrown out with all forms of logic at the beginning…and still today, even with more understanding of the virus, some people still treat those with the virus with so much scorn and inhumanity.
The bigger question I believe would be on the topic of humanity…whatever happened to it?