From incidents such as Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Sandra Bland, I have kept my thoughts to myself. Things have only gotten worse since then, and as writer..as a black writer..I can no longer stay silent.
On Tuesday, July 5, 2016, another black life was taken in the hands of an authority figure. In just a matter of hours, the world watched the viral video of the incident involving Alton Sterling (37, of Louisiana) as his life was gratuitously taken away by two police officers. This approximately marks the 135th black death caused by authorities in the year 2016 alone; and we are only half way through. According to an online database in the Guardian called The Counted, a database that counts all deaths caused by police in the U.S, black lives (as well as natives) are among those that are killed at a much higher rate than any other race. In 2015, 100 unarmed black individuals were killed by police. The fact that many videos have surfaced involving multiple incidents that show unjustifiable actions by police who have only gotten a pop on the hand makes matters that much worse. When will authority figures stop using their title as justification to kill black people? When will they start taking responsibility for their unjust actions? When will black lives matter?
Blacks Versus Authority
The black culture is one of the most powerful people in the world. I do not mean this in terms of authority, obviously, but more so in terms of pride and dignity. We are strong and have endured the most brutality from one society than any other. We have been whipped and beaten, spit on, mistreated, killed, and disrespected all because of who we are and what we look like. Our history is a sad reality for us because we were physically enslaved; today is worse because we are mentally enslaved.
Black people are seen as a threat to many, which explains the outcome of many questionable police shootings of black Americans. They do not need to have a knife or a gun because their being alone poses as a threat. A police officer may be more defensive and aware and ready to take serious precaution when called to the scene of a black individual oppose to a white individual. Males more specifically. According to research, black males on average produce between 10 to 15 percent more testosterone than white males. Testosterone is what makes a man, well, manly. This information alone states volume on the reproduction of a black male and how he can come off as a threat to a white male. Imagine a white police officer having knowledge of this. He would have to use his authority to gain more power, or at least feel that way. He would need to feel that power and therefore demand respect.
I personally got to witness a few incidents where a white officer either felt threatened or a lack of respect from a black man on the scene. A friend of mine who is a black male called the police to help defuse a situation that he was NOT involved in. When the officers arrived to the scene they asked him for his name and if he had any warrants. They yelled at him and told him to stay seated and that he was only making things worse. First of all, he was the one who called the police so why was he the one getting punished? He was the only male at the scene and the only one who got yelled at, and he wasn’t even apart of the problem. Get the point?
When it comes to authorities, blacks will always have a disadvantage because of their skin color. Blacks get unfair treatment as well as a higher killing rate when it comes to dealing with authorities. This is fact!
Yes, All Lives Matter, but…
Every time I hear about an incident involving a black individual being killed by police officers I see multiple Caucasian individuals defending the police officers and/or saying “well all lives matter.” Yes, we know everyone’s life is important, but let’s take the time to not make this about you, white America, but about the issue at hand. The fatalities that black America are referring to involve black people and the historic mistreatment of such. It is much deeper for the black community because we have endured so much police brutality and mistreatment as a people and no one seems to care or do anything about it. Therefore, do not insult and disrespect the black culture because of your need to feel included.
To many Trump supporters, the black community and our lives are not important. These are the people screaming “all lives matter” when they have no idea how deep the issue goes, or do and just not give a damn. People are so quick to use this expression with the justification that they do not see color. Well, that’s their problem right there. To anyone who knows their history and understands at least partially of what the black community has faced and is still facing today, they will get the concept of black lives matter.
Black Lives Matter
Not only have I watched black lives being taken away by police officers, I have also watched black individuals in the public eye have their careers taken away for their support of their culture. A few weeks ago Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams appeared on the BET Awards and gave an acceptance speech for receiving the Humanitarian Award. During Williams’ speech he took to racism and addressed black women, police brutality and their unjustifiable actions, conditional freedom, the views of blacks from white people, and the way blacks are treated by whites. This speech, like many others in the past, was very powerful and undeniably honest. After it went viral it caused an uproar. Again, after this positive speech circulated the Internet it spiraled into something negative by the white community. Might I remind you that he presented his speech on a black televised network that most, if any, Trump supporters do not watch. They only seen it because it went viral based on its positivity and importance to the black culture. Williams started being referred to as a racist who doesn’t care about white people. (FYI he’s half white and has a white mother). Things have went so far to the point where Williams is being petitioned to be fired from the show Grey’s Anatomy and people are saying that they will boycott the show until he is off of it. All because he supports his people? All because he spoke the truth without a filter for his white side? Now that’s racist and complete bullshit. But this isn’t anything new as the black culture tend to always get reprimanded for the positive they try to do in and for their community.
We have to care for our own because no one else does. This is why we stand on the black lives matter movement. We were enslaved for 400 years and have yet to receive our 40 acres. And where in the hell is our got damn mule? Instead of giving our people what is rightfully ours they want to take away the little that we do have; our dignity, our strength, and our culture (things money can never buy!) But because we are such a powerful people, they can never take away who we are and what we stand for.