Eric Garner (July 2014), Micheal brown (August 2014), Tamir rice (November 2014), Walter Scott (April 2015), Alton Sterling (July 2016), Philando Castille (July 2016), Stephon Clark (March 2018), Breonna Taylor(March 2020), George Flyod (May 2020). These are names of Black unarmed people that have been killed by Law enforcement officers in the united states. Will the list keep growing?
Every murder of an unarmed Black person results in protests but interestingly nothing changes afterwards. Black people are still being oppressed and discriminated. Black people convicted of murder or sexual assault are still significantly more likely than their white counterparts to be later found innocent of the crimes, according to a review of nearly 2,000 exonerations in the United States over almost three decades.
Innocent blacks also had to wait disproportionately longer for their names to be cleared than innocent whites, the review, released by the National Registry of Exonerations, found. Blacks wrongfully convicted of murder, for example, spent an average of three more years in prison before being released than whites who were cleared.
When is enough really enough?
But you don’t live in the US you may say, why are you so concerned? I think every human should be concerned, I’m a mum of 2 black boys so I am extremely concerned! Not just for my boys but also for me nephews, for my black relatives, for my friends’ children and for every black live out there.
Recently, my nephew asked his parents if he could grow his hair into afro curls and was advised not to. The reason his parents refused is because black boys with afro hair or dreadlocks are usually judged because of their appearance – this is in addition to their skin colour. There are so many like my nephew, young black responsible adults who are frustrated because they cannot be who they want to be because of people’s biases. They want to identify more with their culture but parents are pleading with them not to because they are afraid of what the world could do to their children.
When will this stop? When is enough really enough? When will we be treated equally? When will we not be followed around and looked at suspiciously just because of the colour of our skin?
I have had my own little taste of racism, I think any black person living out of Africa would have some. My first glaring encounter happened during the FIFA world cup of 2010. I was walking to Bakers street station feeling cute with my pregnant self (I had a cute baby bump) when I heard someone shouting at me. It was a man sitting on a bench by the road – obviously drunk and I just ignored him until what he was saying hit me!” Black monkey”, I wasn’t sure I heard him right, but then he kept repeating it. The streets were empty that day as England was playing and I was walking through a quiet path. I hastened my steps and rushed off so as not to be assaulted by the dimwit. I got on the train – still rattled -pondering on what I had just experienced and wondering what black people must have been through years ago.
Since then I’ve experienced it more, though more subtle. It’s in the glance some give you, it’s some who get up to leave when you enter somewhere or change seats when you sit. I recall a couple that used to be our neighbours, anytime they passed I would say hello and would always get a lukewarm response. One day, I was at a store with the boys when I spotted them, ‘Hello’ I said smiling, no response, I said hello again thinking they didn’t hear me but this time the husband look right at me and just carried on. I thought you said they’re our neighbours my eldest said. I explained to him that some people are just not very nice and we just don’t let such people get to us. So I stopped saying hello to them and thankfully they moved away from the development soon.
The most recent one that was witnessed by one of our boys happened to my husband. It’s not my story but I’ll share it because it left a sour taste in my mouth. My hubby went to play Tennis at our local court with our youngest. There was another family in the court next to them. As they were preparing to leave the court, he noticed the couple were pointing and discussing him, he asked if there was a problem and they accused him of taking their daughter’s ball. He told them he only had his son’s balls and didn’t take theirs but they didn’t believe him. My hubby was furious! He packed up their things and went over to the couple, emptied the contents of his bag in front of them and their ball was not there! My hubby had to ask for an apology which was given in a low tone and non-committal way as opposed to the open accusation which other people at the court could hear.
It may seem like nothing to some readers, but if the skin colour were different, I bet they would not have accused a dad playing with his son of stealing their ball! So we live it, we see it every day. It could be as minimal as when some parents at school catch your glance and quickly look away, to not getting deserved promotion or being picked on at work, to being accused falsely, to being imprisoned falsely and then we have fatal cases like George Lloyd and others – death.
Black lives matter
Black lives matter is a popular hashtag that came into existence in reaction to the acquittal of Trevor Martins’ murderer. It is an international human rights movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. BLM regularly holds protests speaking out against police killings of black people, and broader issues such as racial profiling, police brutality, racial inequality etc. It has since become a global organisation in the USA, Uk and Canada with a mission to build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
Black live matters does not mean we disregard other lives, we have absolute respect for every life as all lives are important which is the whole point of Black lives matter – if all lives matter, why then are Black people treated with such contempt? Are we not all human beings? Black lives are not accorded the same respect as other lives, as a matter of fact, black lives are in danger hence the need for the hashtag. It’s a call for justice, it’s a call for support – a call for every tongue and every race to help us fight the evil known as racism.
We’re tired of seeing black little girls handcuffed because they threw a tantrum, we are tired of being followed around when we enter a store, we are tired of being killed just minding our business in our own homes we are tired of being murdered while out on a run, we are tired of being wrongfully accused of sexual misconduct, we are tired!
Every live matter which is why Black people are fighting the disregard for Black lives. A few days ago, my hubby and I watched Spike’s Lee’s movie ‘Do The Right Thing’. This movie was released in 1989 and it explores racial tension which ultimately leads to the death of an Unarmed African American in the hands of the Police. This movie was released 31 years ago and Black people are still confronted with the same problems that drove the movie in the first place!
Things have to change, humans need to do better, this is a struggle for justice, it’s a struggle for humanity. Prejudice has to be confronted, it has to be eradicated and this starts with you and I. We have to take a stand for the oppressed and the marginalised, our voices have to be heard. It’s in how we behave towards each other, it’s in what we teach our children. Let’s remember that it’s not what we tell them that’s important but what we show them. Children watch our every action and even if you tell them every one is one and the same but you behave cautiously or differently around a Black person, that is what they imbibe. Spread love, preach it but most importantly, practise it.
There are bad eggs in every race and amongst all groups just as there are good ones. People should not be judged because of the badly behaved amongst them, rather everyone should come together to fight evil. Racism is evil, we should all fight it together. We’ve seen moving videos of people of all races coming out in support of the Black lives matter movement (watch uploaded video 👆🏽). This is how it should be, every human should be concerned.
I’ll end this by pleading that we protest peacefully. Destruction of properties and looting puts us right where they want us, in the box they want us to be. Let’s fight this peacefully, let’s fight this together.
I highly recommended this article;