author: miriam dini | contributor
How many black lives does it take for the world to wake up?
Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, the list goes on and on. Those are only a few names of the many murdered in the custody of law enforcement in the United States in the recent years. Police brutality with minimum convictions has increased, which is evidence of the ongoing presence of systemic racism and oppression in America, and shines a bright light on the existence of corruption in the judicial system. It is outrageous and hard to believe, but in the United States in 2016, black people are feeling unsafe in their communities because of their skin color. Black people are feeling unsafe because those meant to “protect them” are the ones killing them. Black people are feeling unsafe because wearing a hoodie, driving a car, playing with a toy gun, walking away from the police, being in your girlfriend’s car with a child in the backseat, and walking home with a friend are now reasons to be shot by the men in blue.
The white, corrupted, supremacist idea of the United States being long past racial oppression and racism ending with slavery is complete and absolute bullshit. Black oppression and racism exists in the United States, and is continually dismissed by many, sometimes even seen as an “excuse,” and only noticed when black lives are at risk. The question is, how many black lives does it take for the world to wake up?
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has become a mantra for black people. The movement gave the black community a platform to express their concerns, unite, and be heard worldwide. Black people and allies in the United States and other major cities around the world began to flood streets to protest and seek justice after the recent events; however, the militarized police of the US have been provoking the protesters constantly, leading to numerous arrests of peaceful protestors. It is evident that the judicial system and the police in the US are working against the favor of black people, and if you are unable to see that, then you are likely part of the problem. The fact that black people are the prime victims of police brutality and mass incarceration, even when they peacefully attempt to protest and seek justice, should be enough for everyone to see what is actually happening.
Hashtags like #AllLivesMatter are very disrespectful. The fact that some people have the need to dismiss and try to distract others from the main issue is incredibly disrespectful! Yes, all lives do matter! Not all lives, however, are being targeted and killed by the police everyday. So, we are currently focused on the black lives, and we will stay focused until it is evident to the law enforcement and the overall judicial systems that their lives matter. So, for all of you who believe that America is “free” and that “racism ended with the abolition of slavery,” I pray and hope that these recent events of police brutality have shaped or altered your perspective on these issues, and hopefully inspires you to stand up in solidarity with black people against injustice.
Note: If you feel offended when a black person discusses their oppression and have the need to say #AllLivesMatter, you are part of the problem.