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Guest Opinion: Let's Talk Optics ▶ (with video) 



Oh did I scare you?

What, are you afraid now?


Does this topic make you uneasy, fearful, ashamed?

Now that I have your attention—Let's Talk Optics.


Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and others would be with us today if one simple thing happens: Don't send an armed officer to handle a basic disruption that two humans should be able to handle. It's easy as ABC!

We've lost too many black Americans for trying to survive something that should not require survival. I'm sick of stories that pop up where A) the subject is usually a white woman or man and B) the target is a black person doing some activity like sitting in a Starbucks, selling water, napping in the park, or providing food for the homeless.

VIDEO: Marcus LeGrand speaks at the Black Lives Matter Rally:

Let's Talk Optics!

We live in a system where white people can call the police for deadly force to ensure their comfort. We all know that the police use excessive force more for black people than they do whites. Because when the police come for a disruption involving a person of color you know it's different. So when will the weaponized discomfort stop? And shit isn't new, from 1877-1950, the United States had 4,400 reported lynchings (Source: National Memorial for Peace and Justice). I'm not saying it was a lynching, but cutting off someone's air supply with a knee in your neck is sure damn close. We need to look at the structure of the system, where the power lies within that system for any changes to happen. We can change the narrative by changing the action and building a new system. 

How many of you have the opportunity to raise a beautiful black child? How many you have to tell them that people may perceive or receive you differently? How many of you have to inform your son or daughter that people may call you names based on the color of your skin? How of you have to inform your child, without scaring them, that the police may or may not protect you because of their skin color? How many of you have to tell your children stories of police brutality that interfered with your childhood based on your skin color?

I know these questions are rhetorical being that we reside in Bend, but I tell my children every day to be proud of their African American heritage. I love looking in their eyes, full of hope, and wonder knowing they have the opportunity to achieve insurmountable things. I was watching, "A Time to Kill" the other day, and I remember Samuel L's character tell his attorney "make them believe that I'm white." But I say, why do I have to continually make you feel comfortable because of my blackness? I sick and tired of being sick and tired of the racial inequalities i have to deal with every day. Not knowing if the COVID-19 mask I’m wearing constitutes an ass whipping or being killed.


Finally, if you are witnessing injustice, put the camera down. If you know that there is injustice happening, step out of your bubble and help a fellow human being; it just might save their life.

-Marcus LeGrand
Pathway College and Career Success Coach & Instructor: College Success, Central Oregon Community College

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