I’ve kept my mouth shut for a long time.
I didn’t dare publicly acknowledge the lives and deaths of people like Kenneth Chamberlain Sr, Trayvon Martin, John Crawford III, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice and so many others.
Why? I was always taught to not be the Angry Black Woman. To not “pull the race card.” To fly under the radar.
I’ve been taught to not have a voice and quite frankly, my tongue is bleeding.
I know this because yesterday I went against my strong better judgment and got myself into a good, old fashioned internet fight (Wow, B, really?).
I saw the cops with the “I can breathe” t-shirts, had Facebook friends posting “all lives matter” as their status, and saw tweets and memes asking, “Where’s the outrage now?” and I just couldn’t shut up for one second longer.
So if I’m going to use my voice, I feel writing this here is a better outlet.
Before we go any further, I’d like to make this abundantly clear: yesterday’s murder-suicide was beyond tragic. One young woman, two police officers, and the man who killed them, all died yesterday. It is true, ALL lives matter and this is in no way meant to overlook or minimize the loss of those lives. It’s the response to those events that has me writing here today.
#blacklivesmatter became a thing because it has been proven again and again that this fact is still not a generally accepted idea. It’s needed because the narrative of the past forever has been that black people are more dangerous, less educated and not as human.
It’s much more subtle now. Which seems to be scarier. When it’s so much less accepted to be blatantly racist, it’s so much easier to call cries for equality “race baiting.” Fifty some odd years after the civil rights movement, racism is not over – it’s just so ingrained in society it’s become invisible to most.
#blacklivesmatter is a cry to end the constant dehumanization. To have police look for evidence of criminal behaviour instead of seeing skin colour as a strong indication of something wrong. To have the media stop portraying all black men as gangsters, thugs and drug dealers. It’s asking for black lives to matter as much as white lives.
It’s not about saying other lives don’t matter.
It’s not suggesting there aren’t other important causes.
It’s not a secret attempt at black supremacy.
It’s truly a desperate plea for change.
Which brings me to my next point…
2. There aren’t protests for the loss of police lives because protests are generally a way for the little guy to have their voice heard by the powers that be.
Protests are a means to speak out against The Man. And, even with Barack Obama as president, “The Man” is still a bunch of rich white guys. Police, regardless of their skin tone, work for and represent The Man.
The system already works in this case.
If the killer was alive he would be caught and taken to jail (or gunned down), his life will still be vilified from beginning to end (yes, I agree he ended his life with some vile shit but if he were white there would be stories from shocked teachers who thought he was “such a good boy”).
In short, there is no question in cases like these that justice will be served. “No indictment” isn’t even on the table.
What you’re talking about is not a protest, it’s a vigil. That will happen, I’m sure – as it should.
3. I am an angry black woman but I’m not mad at YOU. I’m mad at a system of oppression that we can’t seem to get ourselves out of. I’m mad that there is so much evidence that “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t count for black people. I’m mad that I am worried about writing this because of how I might be viewed.
Thanks for hearing me out.