Save the narrative that Black people are the problem here.
Save the narrative that not getting killed is the sole responsibility of Black people or that any manner of subservient behavior is enough to keep us from being killed.
Respectability doesn’t work. And the onus is NOT on us to prove our humanity to anyone. We don’t need to work to change the way that others view us and we don’t need to go out of our way so as not to line up with Black stereotypes. I could be twerkin’ at Denny’s with my homegirls with a head full of rainbow-colored bundles and STILL very much deserve this life that I’m living. I deserve life when I’m loud and when I’m angry, just like Black LGBT deserve every bit of their lives at every moment of every day, just like disabled Black people and elderly Black people and illiterate Black people and Black people on welfare and… To people who are racist, there is nothing we can do to prove to them otherwise. And I’m in no way interested in separating myself from any other Black folks by way of education, socioeconomic status, neighborhood, etc. I am them and they are me. Period.
The fact of the matter is, that once a Black person is killed by police, there is no justice that can be obtained. No jail time, no life, no fees worth that person’s life. The only answer is to maybe try and make the world a better place for that person’s lineage. By the time Black people are killed by police, it’s too late. Black bodies in the streets are only symptoms of the racism and oppression that EVERY system in this country is built upon. Even education? Yep. Even the military? Absolutely. Healthcare as well? Most definitely. Police brutality is not the sickness, it’s merely evidence that the American body is plagued with and has been plagued with the centuries old virus of that racism and oppression. Only the vast majority of people who benefit from it don’t see it as a sickness at all.
And those people, those blatant racists, in this moment are not my concern. There are, however, some folks who would do well to step up at this time and defend the Blackness they claim to love so much.
White people, non-Black POC who love Black culture– now is the time to speak up. Educate YOUR people. Your sadness and sympathy are not enough. Speak up when your friends want to use “the N word” and wear bantu knots and box braids. There’s A LOT of anti-blackness within non-Black POC communities. It would seem as though we could maybe get a little solidarity among POC since we go through similar experiences in trying to be ourselves in this country, but obviously that’s too much to ask. Much like their white counterparts, they are all too eager to engage in the latest Black music, hair and fashion trends but not so eager to stand up for the living, breathing, very real Black people who create the Black culture they covet so much. Culture appropriating White people and non-Black POC are very much a part of the problem because they end up being the faces of all things Black without having to deal with the racial oppression, systemic mistreatment, coldblooded murder and grief that comes with it. White people have built entire careers by feigning Blackness, but when the system does what the system is created to do, the Iggys and Taylors and Mileys are quiet. Instead of trying to Dolezal your way into the community and Columbus our safe spaces and cultural staples, voice your support and then boost those Black voices that need to be heard. March and rally with us, speak with your local government officials, use your privilege within your circles of influence and check your white friends, especially those who are committed to misunderstanding the issues.
Cops who ARE doing the right thing– it means nothing if you don’t speak out against cops who are doing the wrong thing. Peter Rosenberg said it right: IF you are a cop and you ARE doing the right thing, let go of that cowardice and come stand on the front lines. Stand with what you KNOW is right. Speak out against what you KNOW is wrong. All of the cops with videos on Facebook of them buying car seats and hooping with kids in the hood, where are you now? Take yourselves out of formation with our oppressors and begin to undo the damage the system has done. We’ll continue to assume that all of you are crooked until you create some separation between yourselves and the murderers that you allow to work alongside you.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Again, every Black person on this planet is an extension of me, is an extension of the ancestors, is an extension of their fight for our future. When a Black person is killed by police, it’s hard for us to get out of bed the next morning. It’s hard to focus on work, it’s hard to focus on our families. Every death by police is a reminder that, while everybody wants our stuff, no one really wants us. To be Black in America is to live in a never ending state of trauma and stress. The end of slavery wasn’t the end of racism. The end of segregation wasn’t the end of racism. The trauma has continued with no sign of letting up. So to all of our White friends and Asian friends and Latino friends who like listening to Hip-Hop and who like sending their edges to an early grave just to wear cornrows and who like to say “the N word” and who want to be down so, so bad… here’s your chance.