I’m an abolitionist. My sister's a cop. And rethinking 'family' is how I am reconciling it all.
I’ve struggled trying to hold what I know – that she would never intentionally hurt anyone – in tension with what I know just as deeply: this system of policing will always hurt Black people
and countless others who weren’t innocent enough to become hashtags, and, though their faces are not always as clear as hers, I want them to be safe too. Faces don’t have to be recognizable for me to love them; I want to care for the strangers in my community too.
When I hear “family”, I seeTrayvonand his brother, now one of my best friends. I see myself with hogties digging deep into my wrist and breaking flesh like bread after thuggish police tossed me cheaply into a wagon, just for protesting my friend’s brother’s murder. And I know that we are tied together by something real and deep and blazingly on fire. A recent study published in the Astrophysical Journal
found thatthe calcium in our bones and teeth likely came from exploding stars scattering the mineral across space in massive quantities, and when I smile wide I see their grin in mine. I call that “family” too.And when I tell my sister, “I love you, I really do”, I mean that I have to be able to care for her within this context. That I want her to be the best version of herself that she can be as an important part of the vast sky, but I cannot operate as if she is the sky itself. headtopics.com
When I say, “I love you”, I am watching my mother move across my sister’s face, remembering how the truest love for her never meant I had to accept or forgive the harm she caused without her offering apologies; and there is so much thoroughly devastating harm that is done by police to Black people in this country. I am remembering how the apologies later came, when I refused to limit myself by the dictates of a concept of love and family that wouldn’t make space for me to live fully, even if my mother never quite said the word “sorry”, because real love finds a way.
I am remembering how the apologies later came, … even if my mother never quite said the word 'sorry', because real love finds a wayThe apologies come in her asking, “How is your husband? I really like that Timothy!” and in her reading my pieces about struggling to show her love and her struggling to absorb the words and her struggling to show love to me back when it’s difficult and uncomfortable and we don’t always agree.
My relationship with my sister who is a police officer is difficult and uncomfortable and we don’t always agree, but love isn’t about comfort and avoiding critique. Love is what pushes us to be better people.My sister Priya and I will probably have to leave some things unresolved. There is nothing I desire more than to have the institution of policing dismantled, because I believe with every tiny nerve of my being that it is necessary for the healing my communities require. That is true regardless of who is part of that institution.
My sister and I may never agree on what “better” means, but I only hope we can both agree that desiring it for someone and acting on that desire is what love is. Soon, inshallah, I will be better at demonstrating that this is what my desire for her has always been, and better at fighting with the quest for love guiding me. Better at showing that love – as I discover it – to her, and maybe then this won’t have to be so hard. headtopics.com
I wish, more than anything, that this didn’t have to be so fucking hard. For my sister. My mother. For all the Black people who never should have had to figure out how to create a safe society in the rubble of the past five centuries of being ravaged by the state and its agents.
It was unloving to keep avoiding these conversations just because I didn’t know how to say what needed to be said. I know that my sister wants me to improve on this front, which means I know she loves me back. I promise to do better. Saying what needs to be said even without knowing how to say it is the thing queerness has always directed me toward, anyway.
Hari Ziyad is the author of Black Boy Out Of Time, published by Little A Books Read more: The Guardian »
Derek Chauvin murder trial: George Floyd's brother on agony of having to 'relive everything'
George Floyd's brother says those who witnessed the killing but wished they did more shouldn't feel guilty.
The police woman sounds like a wonderfull person. Boring Beautiful Abolitionist of what, exactly, slavery? And she just cant easily reconsile being siblings with a cop and being for the abolition of slavery? Really? Because that's what abolitionists were. So you're suggestion that cops, by default, are pro slavery. Because you're stupid.
This is the most Guardian article ever 'Family' is highly overrated. nice