Sandra Bland Would Be Alive Today
If she’d been a White woman
Sandra Bland died almost two years ago. Her death was ruled suicide by hanging since that was the way she was found in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas.
The circumstances that led to her tragic demise is infuriatingly relatable for any person of color that has endured extreme treatment at the hands of over-zealous White cops who can’t control the direction of their guns or lack instinctual empathy for the ones they hunt.
Bland’s unfathomable end is the American story that makes the celebration of Black History Month damagingly uneven — especially when you consider the passage of time and how the present climate refuses to give us permission to acknowledge the progress that has been made.
How can we decently pour over historical antidotes when the relevancy of each bullet point consistently finds a slot next to the carried pain of our ancestral tidings — without washing away the accumulation of the revisited through the documented names of victims that still continue to mount in the shadows of death and injustice?
I am royally pissed that Sandra Bland had to leave this world as a Black woman in chains. Her god-given right to be an American was her undoing. Her defiance in the face of imminent death at the hands of a coward who only saw color and a woman with too much awareness to save her is a searing reminder of what it takes to exist in a society that is managed by the duress of targeted victims.
It’s absolutely a fact that if I had been the one pulled over and harassed for no good reason — the coldness of the jail cell floor would’ve kept me up all night.
I would lie there — trying to close out the silence of the noise around me as I ponder how so very different my surroundings would look if I were a White woman.
My obsession with Bland is more than just the personal stuff it’s the bigger picture and how crowded it gets when the lenses are out of focus. Or, maybe there are just too many of us shuttled into one place — trying to breathe the air that at times leaves with no warning.
During that period of temporary suffocation — we wonder — who’s next?
White women never have to worry about being pulled over for a traffic violation that escalates into a war of words initiated by a state trooper — playing by the handbook filled with derogatory and stereotypical notes — that are indispensable when it comes to tackling the unruly and brutish types.
If Sandra Bland had been White, she probably would be delirious from the effects of all the shots her co-workers pumped her with as she gyrates to Drake and fantasizes about the hot Black dude she so badly wants to screw. She ends up doing just that because it’s her 30th and why the hell not!
The day before — she had a crazy encounter after she forgot to signal a turn. It was short and sweet. She was kind of rattled at first but once he arrived at her window he had a smile on his face. She began to talk a mile a minute and he listened patiently and then asked to view her documents. She tried to get out of it but he calmly cautioned her.
“It’s not the end of the world, just be more careful next time.”
That was it. She was lucky this time but she had been lucky many times before. He was nice.
I’m letting my imagination sidetrack me but that always happens when I have a hard time processing the shit that leaves me mentally fatigued and lonely in my quest to flip the script.
Sandra Bland was proudly Black and didn’t need the security of wishing she wasn’t to derail her from what destiny had whipped up. She was fully engaged in the activities of the Black Lives Matter movement — and had a pulse on the elements that were crippling her community — almost beyond repair.
She wasn’t branded for extinction unless it was on her own terms and whether or not she died by her own hand — the truth remains that she was extinguished because of who she was and what that represents to those that misuse their power and authority for the glory of retaining their child-like tendencies.
If the Women’s March on Washington had been more Black than White — the reception would not have been as warm and nostalgic. When White women scream for justice it never quite reaches the grasps of their Black counterparts who never stop battling the disease that threatens to eradicate them. White feminists are hard to understand and perhaps that’s a good thing since it’s obvious they don’t have much in common with Black feminists unless the agreement isn’t filthily related to race. You can be a law-abiding Black woman and be treated like a car thief and you can be a White woman who breaks the law and still be handled with care.
If Sandra Bland had been a White woman she would have turned 30 today and it would’ve been so awesome.