“White Family Facebook Drama Over Police Racism”

“White Family Facebook Drama Over Police Racism”

Dear Cap,

I’ve (she/her) got White Family Facebook Drama over police racism, regarding my (male) officer cousins, D and A. I began publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in 2016, and they became distant but civil. (It was hard because D and I had been friendly on social media before that, but I didn’t want to hide anymore.)

A’s family supported #BLM lately. We agreed often. Then Aunt L (my godmother and A’s mom), posted a “don’t let the bad apples define your view of police” meme. I wrote what I thought was a sensitive but firm refutation: (1) American policing is an institution, (2) the institution is systemically racist, (3) all members are culpable and responsible for fixing it, even the officers we love. I re-read and rewrote it several times. 

I really hoped L would at least reconsider the tone-deaf meme, instead all hell broke loose.

The word “disrespect” was thrown around constantly – I disrespected D and A’s families and our great-grandfather who died in the line of duty, questioned D and A’s integrity, etc. I argued I’m talking about institutional culpability and the blue wall of silence. None of my relatives agreed. A few days earlier, I’d posted an image of the “thin blue line flag” with the blue line peeling away to reveal a swastika underneath. L’s family found that and ripped into me again. I provided sources on how the Blue Lives Matter phrase and that flag are racist symbols used in opposition to BLM. Aunt L vehemently disagreed and defriended me.

My mom says I’ve caused an irreparable breach in my once-close-knit extended family and was insensitive because my police families are scared for my cousins. Friends involved in BLM say I was right. I don’t think my words were wrong, but it eats at me that I’ve estranged so many at once. Many of my (white) family love the blanket “but I’M not racist” excuse, which I loathe because I think we too have systemic responsibility. So I’ve wanted to break that disclaimer, but wasn’t trying to use dynamite, let alone on a Facebook post!

I know what’s done is done. Is there anything I can/should do now, either to fix things or come to terms with this estrangement? Right now I just feel alone and lost.

Signed,

“Becky”

#1272: “White Family Facebook Drama Over Police Racism”

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