Just days after America united to celebrate its independence, Black America was violently reminded that in this country, the country that’s very own pledge states “one nation under God with liberty and JUSTICE for all”, that liberty and justice are only reserved for a select few.
On Wednesday, July 6th 2016 news spread over the killing of Alton Sterling. Within 24 hours a new story surfaced over the killing of Philando Castile. Both black men were executed by police officers. Both black men were defenseless. Both black men posed no threat. Both black men were executed anyway. Alton was already on the ground, tazed, and held down, yet it was still necessary to shoot and kill him? According to his girlfriend, Philando forewarned the cop that he had a gun and a license to carry. Philando was attempting to reach for his wallet with the registration, yet it was necessary to shoot and kill him? The cops involved in both murders stated that they felt justified in their use of deadly force. Justified? There will always be attempts to justify the deaths, but there will never be justice for the murderers.
How many hashtags will there be? How many lives will be taken by the hands of those whose sole purpose is to protect it? This is emotional trauma. I feel like I am in a constant state of mourning after continuously seeing images of our children dead in the streets, our fathers gunned down, and our brothers vilified. As someone with a huge family of black children striving to be boys, black boys striving to be men, and black men striving to succeed, conquer, and live, I am paranoid for my family. I am paranoid that Eric Garner could have been my Uncle. Sandra Bland could have been my Aunt. Tamir Rice could have been my Nephew. Jordan Davis could have been my Cousin. Travyon Martin could have been my Brother. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile could have been my Father.
It is disgusting to see that mass murdering of black life has zero consequence, empathy or regard. For centuries now, genocide has been declared on black life in America and it has gone ignored. If you pay close attention, you will see just how bipolar America’s relationship with black life is: When America sheds her tears for genocides and terrorist attacks in other countries, but none when the genocide is right here on her front lawn. There are no candle light vigils and demands for change when America is the murderer. When America catapults celebrities like Justin Bieber, Iggy Azalea, the Kardshian Klan, etc to profit off of blackness and, as Jesse Williams so eloquently stated
“extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil-black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius”
yet leave all the pain, suffering, and burden for us to bear alone. When America will support black celebrities only if they are not using their platform to promote black power or black excellence, otherwise America will deem you a racist. When you become “America’s Champ” only after you have lost your voice to speak on the tragedies and injustices of black people.
When it comes to black life in America, we are not free. We do not have justice. And we are not legal. It is illegal to be black and buy Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea. It is illegal to be black and play outside in a park. It is illegal to be black and buy and sell cigarettes. It is illegal to be black and purchase a toy gun from Walmart. It is illegal to be black and listen to loud music in your car. It is illegal to be black and sell CD’s. It is illegal to be black and…to be black. The bill is long overdue.
Will Black ever be legal in America?