When I was a little girl, I lived for a year in El Salvador. I went to a private school and generally lived a life of privilege. Our house was smaller than the one outside of Boston, and we didn’t have air-conditioning or a fancy compound like other members of the British-American club where we went swimming. My brother and I could go down to the corner store and buy firecrackers, and we would go across the street to a soccer field and find spots in the nearby trees where we could blow up piles of sticks. From there we could see where some folks lived: shacks with no running water, tin roofs, and painfully thin children.
In fifth grade, I’m sure I had no real idea of what was happening, but I knew I had privilege. Things were scary, but I did not fear for myself (although perhaps I should have). The poor would routinely get shot by the police and it was accepted as the way things are. Corruption and bribes were status quo. My home government (the United States) supported the government in El Salvador with arms to defeat the influence of Russian communism, despite no real evidence of that — this was a civil war with casualties on both sides. I remember when the dad of a kid in my class was kidnapped, and the family paid the ransom and the guerillas returned the dad, except his head was in a garbage bag, separated from his body.
I don’t mean to be gruesome, I just think about these things, when I hear about the violence by police in America today. This feels spookily familiar… I’ve been watching things get worse for over three decades. It is a good sign that people can take videos and speak out on twitter and express outrage #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastille #EssenceBowman #BlackLivesMatter
“It’s not what you see that should cause outrage, it’s what you have not seen.” —@shaft calling in Black to work tomorrow
I know for every video and photo there are those who were driving alone or where there were no bystanders with cell-phones.