To all of the (mostly white) people on my dash reblogging the “pepper spray cop” meme
TW: Police brutality
Have you ever been pepper-sprayed? I mean really, truly got a faceful of some quality, military-grade shit?
Cuz I have. I am a street medic. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it means I go to protests and carry medical supplies onm my person so when the pigs get frisky, I can treat my fellow protestors on the spot. Needless to say, the cops don’t like us. In fact, many times, street medics will be targeted first because in a cop’s mind, if a medic can treat 10 protestors, then taking out one medic is like taking out 10 protestors. So, often times, even though I am clearly marked as medical personnel, if the pepper spray starts flying, I can guarantee it is going to come my way first.
The first thing you feel is pain. Blinding, searing, burning pain. You want to gasp, to scream, but all that accomplishes is allowing the spray into your nose and mouth. You immediately gag as your airways constructs and your lungs revolt. You want to cough, you want to vomit, you want to cry. But you can’t do any of those things. You can only hurt and burn and run and pray you don’t pass out so the cops can’t arrest you. Because if you do, you know you are not getting even the most basic medical treatment and this pain will last for hours. It is truly a painful, horrifying experience. Especially for some one like me who has a borderline phobia of not having an air supply.
But I am lucky. Because of my white skin, I am pretty much assured that unless I put myself in a situation like a protest, I do not have to fear being pepper sprayed. People of color, the poor, sex workers, they have no such assurance. They have to live with the fear that one day, some trigger-happy pig is going to take offense at a word, a glance, and they will be attacked with pepper spray. Or worse. We have all heard the names, the stories. Black men getting killed for jumping a subway turnstyle. Sex workers being forced to give law enforcement “favors” for fear of arrest or further assault. Homeless people arrested for trying to find a place to sleep or enough money to buy a cup of coffee.
Police brutality against marginalized groups is not a laughing matter. This is real life and real pain and real fear that you are exploiting for a quick laugh and a casual joke. And I am fucking sick of it. It reeks of white privilege, class privilege and so much other privilege. Fucking stop it.
I want this on my Tumblr. Followers, take heed.
Reeks of privilege & also just makes you an asshole IMO