Those who have survived the most horrible experiences in their lives learn to feel the pain of other oppressed people. Our today's guest is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and absolutely amazing blogger. By the age 9, she had been molested multiple times by multiple pedophiles. During her teen years, she was raped several times. This horrible experience made her intolerant to any form of injustice including the oppression of Black community by racist police. We hope that not every White person has to undergo something awful to feel our pain and start supporting us.
blackmattersus.comHello, Rosie. Thank you for the consent to share your opinion on the matters that bother us. Tell us few words about your blog.
I started ‘Make Me a Sammich’ in 2012 because I was frustrated with all the ways that society seemed to want me to believe that I was worth less than a man. I wanted an outlet to talk about my experiences with abuse and to connect with and, hopefully, empower others with similar experiences.
blackmattersus.comAmong the posts about struggles of a woman in America, you write a lot about police brutality against Blacks. Quoting you, “police kill Black people at a rate of two per week.” These stats are shocking! More than that, unarmed black people were killed by police at 5x the rate of unarmed whites in 2015. What is your opinion on the issue? Why does it happen?
This issue is very important to me. I don’t think that all police brutality is racially based, but I do believe that there is a culture in American police forces that allows racism to thrive and does not punish racist cops. It does seem that many (white) people believe it when cops say they don’t have a choice—who will even go so far as to blame Tamir Rice for his murder when the police didn’t wait three seconds before gunning him down. Part of this may be that we’re taught police have a super dangerous job (it’s dangerous, sure, but in truth, it isn’t even in the top ten most dangerous jobs in America) and so I guess we give them a lot of leeway in “defending” themselves, but obviously that doesn’t apply in the Rice case, which like that of Michael Brown, seems to stem from a perception of Black children and teenagers as older, larger, and more dangerous than they actually are. Darren Wilson described Mike Brown as though he became the Incredible Hulk before his eyes. Cops were told by a dispatcher that 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s gun was probably fake, but they shot him anyway, and then described him as an adult. Internal police force practices—such as LAPD’s internal code “NHI” (No Humans Involved) when responding to gang violence—teaches cops to look at Black people as criminals but not as humans deserving of rights. This must change.
blackmattersus.comI do agree and believe that your blog is a good instrument to bring the change. You put a good humor and positive energy in there. Also, being an active and open person, you don’t hesitate to show your opinion to the public. Does this attitude bring you supporters or haters mostly?
I do try to inject humor whenever I can, but the blog was funnier in the early days. The more I learned, the less humor I found in the topics I wanted to write about. As for meeting people through the blog, that has been one of the most important parts of this work—connecting with all the other people out there fighting the same battles, healing from similar abuses, working through the same issues. The support—and the education—I’ve received from this community have been utterly invaluable. At the same time, I get angry people (mostly men) yelling at me and trolls trying to get a rise out of me. I’ve had men wish me dead (describing their wish in gruesome detail) and I’ve had them send me violent images. But compared to what Women of Color—especially Black women—go through, I’ve got it pretty easy. I generally cope in one of two ways: I make their attacks public and ridicule them when I have the energy, and when it gets to be too much, I take a break from the work and do other things like gardening and video games. I try to practice self-care because I can’t do anything well if I’m not well myself.
blackmattersus.comThat’s true! Every person making a change to the world must change himself first. Your work is really important. What is your attitude to the people who prefer to go to the streets to make a positive change? What do you think about movements like Black Lives Matter and BlackmattersUS? Do you think we need more active people in our country?
Thank you for the work you do at BlackmattersUS. Black Lives Matter and related movements are movements whose time has definitely come. I believe it’s vital to the future of our country in that it has forced this country to look at itself through the eyes of citizens descended from the slaves who built it and who are still treated as though they are not 100% of a human being. Similar to the way citizen journalism during Occupy showed us the gaps in media coverage of those events, citizens reporting from the ground in Ferguson exposed the gaping chasms in mainstream media reporting on police actions in response to largely peaceful protests as well as in how it covered the protesters themselves, focusing on thrown water bottles and property damage (a burning CVS) while ignoring the 99% peaceful protesters and the very reason they were there. And given the racist backlash that has arisen since we elected President Obama, it seems that this country was overdue for a serious discussion about the fact that racism is alive and well in this country and that white people benefit from unearned privilege, including the privilege of generally not being treated as criminals by default in encounters with the police. I think we absolutely need more activism and activists working to make the world better for all of us. I’m a huge proponent of doing something—anything one can do—to fight the systems that oppress people and to make and be the change they want to see. I think it’s important to acknowledge that this work is mentally and physically exhausting, partly because it’s often quite personal to the people who do it. This means that some days/weeks/months my activism might take the form marching in a protest while others it might take the form of modeling good self-care. Some activists will do their work on the streets, and others will do it from their armchairs or wheelchairs or beds. Some will come to this work late in life, and that’s ok, too. I applaud anyone who puts themselves out there in the service of others. And I’m humbled by the company I keep.