Must-Read Tweetstorm Sheds Light on the Black Condition After Philando Castile's Death

Source: AP
Source: AP

On Wednesday, Philando Castile became the 115th known black man this year to have died at the hands of on-duty police. One day earlier, Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had become No. 114. Outrage at tandem shootings is widespread, and according to writer and editor Ijeoma Oluo, unproductive. 

In back-to-back tweet storms, Oluo detailed a frustrating reality that many white people angered by the situation frequently overlook. Black people keep dying at the hands of law enforcement because few of those with power are doing anything to prevent it. Sympathetic sentiment, she said, is not enough.

"I wish that white people understood — or cared — about the elaborate measures we go thru to try not [to] get killed by the police," Oluo began

"Our blackness is all we need to be seen as a threat," Oluo continued. "These cops don't even know they're afraid, that they've been conditioned to view our actions as dangerous. To view our violence as [imminent]. They don't know until they've fired." 

That's because of implicit bias, according to by a University of Colorado study: Shown images of armed and unarmed men of various races, people fire at armed black men more frequently and more quickly than they do at armed white men. They view black people as inherently more dangerous than white people.  

Implicit bias isn't wiped out when an officer puts on a uniform. A police officer in Ohio reminded her white colleagues following Castile's death that uniform can offer a deadly outlet. 

"If you're that officer that knows good and well you got a God complex and you're afraid of people that don't look like you, you have no business in that uniform," she said. "Take it off.

"The police are the armed wing of American consciousness."

"If one more white person tells me that they feel 'so helpless' to stop the murder of black people by cops I'm going to scream," Oluo wrote. "Fuck your helplessness. Fuck your sadness. Fuck your hands thrown up in the air bullshit sympathy. This is your fucking system. Fix it."

In 14 steps, Oluo laid out how angry people could fix it. Police reform, she said, must become embedded in the political conversation, locally and nationally. Politicians should not expect to be elected unless they're committed to changing the law enforcement system. It's up to their constituents to teach them this.

"Do this today, do this tomorrow, do this like your life depends on it," she wrote. "Ours actually does."

Read more:
Philando Castile's Mother Says She Tried to Teach Him "How to Survive" a Police Stop
Jesse Williams Just Tweeted a Perfect Response to the Shooting of Alton Sterling
Police in Baton Rouge Have Only Killed Black Men Since June 2015

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Claire Lampen

Claire is a staff writer at Mic who covers women's issues and reproductive rights. She is based in New York and can be reached at claire@mic.com.

MORE FROM

White House says it knows of potential Syrian chemical attack, warns Assad of "heavy price"

The Trump administration did not provide any evidence backing the threat.

Serena Williams responds to John McEnroe's comments saying she would rank "like 700" against men

Williams said his statements were "not factually based."

People are way less likely to be helpful when it's hot out, according to study

Sorry, it's too hot out to help you move.

Democrats, the American Medical Association and US bishops blast the Senate health care bill

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 15 million more Americans will be without health insurance next year if the bill passes.

Dow Jones won’t talk about its reported pay gap problem

A study released by the union representing Dow Jones employees found evidence of a "significant pay gap between men and women" who had the same job title and level of experience.

Mom slams ACA repeal, shows what's at stake in a tweetstorm about son's health

This mom says that without the ACA, her son wouldn't get the medical care he desperately needs.

White House says it knows of potential Syrian chemical attack, warns Assad of "heavy price"

The Trump administration did not provide any evidence backing the threat.

Serena Williams responds to John McEnroe's comments saying she would rank "like 700" against men

Williams said his statements were "not factually based."

People are way less likely to be helpful when it's hot out, according to study

Sorry, it's too hot out to help you move.

Democrats, the American Medical Association and US bishops blast the Senate health care bill

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 15 million more Americans will be without health insurance next year if the bill passes.

Dow Jones won’t talk about its reported pay gap problem

A study released by the union representing Dow Jones employees found evidence of a "significant pay gap between men and women" who had the same job title and level of experience.

Mom slams ACA repeal, shows what's at stake in a tweetstorm about son's health

This mom says that without the ACA, her son wouldn't get the medical care he desperately needs.