Once again, this nation finds itself complicit in the death of another young black boy. Jordan Edwards was merely 15-years-old. He was shot and killed in cold blood by a cop in Balch Springs, Texas. Edwards was leaving a party with his friends and brother. No crime was committed, no one was armed, yet he is dead and his family is bereft.

The responsibility of his death does not just belong to the officer who shot and killed him.  All of us who benefit from this racist nation are at fault. White America is at fault.

A society in which one race or ethnicity benefits over another by the mere color of their skin cannot help but be racist. Being a racist is not a choice if one is white in America.

Being racist and awake is a choice. Acknowledging one’s privilege and making efforts to change and to stand for true justice is also a choice. Far too many white people, however, are unconscious and bristle at being called a racist or privileged.

It is a rare occurrence when a white child dies at the hands of police. Yet white people will suggest that they are not privileged.

What is the height of privilege other than to know that you live in a society that embraces your existence, that is willing to protect your children, that is structured to give you an opportunity that you have learned to expect?

Those who suggest that the woes of white America compare to the horrors of Black America perpetuate their privilege. Bernie Sanders decries the inability of the Democratic Party to talk to white working-class Americans, and progressives embrace him as the second coming, oblivious to the fact that Black Americans did not support his candidacy. They have a far better bullshit barometer, especially Black women.

Progressives who ultimately refused to vote for Clinton and white women all helped to elect Donald Trump as they tossed aside the lives of Black people for their selfish and ill-considered issues.

Susan Sarandon, for example, suggested that Trump would be a good choice as a catalyst for a revolution. She doesn’t want to talk about it now, but she was certainly willing to put Black children’s lives at risk by advocating people should vote for someone other than Clinton.

Words and actions matter, especially when one has a national platform.

Whom you vote for matters. How you talk about issues matters. How you define your humanity matters.

As the violence continues unabated, white Americans continue to make horrific choices and to ignore the depth of depravity that our privilege wreaks. Children are being killed because of the color of their skin. Too many white Americans are okay with that. Oh, I am sure that many will say to me that it is not true, that they are horrified when innocent Black children are killed. (Please note innocent.)

If you are so horrified, how could you have voted for Donald Trump? How could you have supported a third party candidate knowing that it might have created an opening for Trump? The Supreme Court was up for grabs. Do you realize what happened when they voted to decimate the Voting Rights Act? Do you realize how many Black voters were disenfranchised? By voting for any Republican, do you understand that at every level they are trying to gerrymander districts to prevent Democrats from ever being elected?

For those who sat on their ass and did not vote because ‘it doesn’t make a difference” or “one party is the same as the other,” you too are complicit.

People who are awake did not vote for Donald Trump, Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. They saw his racist heart. They worried that electing him would lead to a worse day for not only Black Americans but also others who are marginalized by white society. They were right. However, none of them, including myself, could have predicted how bad it has become.

Trump chose a known racist—  Jeff Sessions — as his pick for Attorney General of the United States. Sessions has already undone programs that encourage police departments and communities to be more responsive to one another. Yesterday it was reported that the Justice Department would not be filing charges against the officers who murdered Alton Sterling.

He has spent a lifetime working to limit the rights of Black Americans, and now he is in charge of our justice system.

After-school programs, educational programs and other pieces of our society’s attempt to redistribute some of its privilege and to provide assistance to those who need it are under attack by Trump and the GOP.  If anyone has any doubt as to the racist core of the Republican Party than you have not been paying attention.

When Black Americans walk down the street, when they drive, when they go to school, and when they engage in any activity, they are not privileged in our society. Their lives are too often at risk. Too many Black boys, girls, men and women are paying for our privilege.  Jordan Edwards paid with his life.

Are you okay with that?

-Jan Harrison




  1. Helen were you there if so please immediately go to the police department and give them your eyewitness testimony, as well as the district attorneys office.

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