I find myself being reminded..black lives didn't matter back then...
Updated: May 21, 2020
Hello beautiful people! We have reached hump day, two more days to go!
"When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on so long in the first place."
This is such an uncomfortable topic for me; a part of myself did not want to write on this subject; I guess I wanted to separate my blog content from anything political or too controversial; but when continued killings of black and brown men and women continue to occur at the hands of both law and pseudo-law enforcement, I believe any stage we have at our disposal whether it is blogging, public speaking, social media influence or just talking amongst each other, should be used to raise awareness, spread concern and quiet the negative rhetoric. More importantly, I am the mother of a young black man and even younger black girl, and the aunt to black nephews and nieces-I owe it to them to use my platform to discuss, provoke and work towards being an agent of change.
As with a majority of my blogs, it begins with a conversation I have with someone. In speaking to one of my closest friends, she expressed the sense and fear she was dealing with; not only amidst the pandemic but the fact that once again there was a killing of a black man in Georgia, Ahmaud Arbery, as he jogged, shot by two white men and Breonna Taylor, killed by police while asleep in her Louisville home. My friend is absolutely correct when she conveys her anger and anxiety of being black in America; there is no respect for people of color, the narrative continues to be the same, shoot now, ask later-in the case of Arbery and Taylor it was shoot first, bury their stories until months later.
The Black Lives Matter Movement has done its best to raise awareness and seek legislative change, however, little has been done on a national scale to truly address this unending issue of the killings of unarmed people of color by the police. As a young adult, pre-Black Lives Matter, I remember the shooting death of Amadou Diallo, shot 41 times by NYC Police officers who thought he was armed when in reality he was in possession of his wallet. Though there was a trial, the officers were found not guilty. Prior to that, there was Elenor Bumpers, who suffered from mental illness, shot by police officers, I can even recall Micheal Stewart a young black man killed as a result of police brutality in the early 1980s. Their stories are no different than those who suffered the same fate as they did, decades, and a black president later.
Truth be told, there has not been much in terms of change for the better. Police brutality against black and brown people of color has morphed into some sick accepted normalcy; the police/community relationship is close to non-existent. Sure, cameras and social media have helped to expose police-related killings of black and brown people which in some ways revolutionized the way in which the public responds; but make no mistake people are angry and rightfully so. We need to channel that anger and identify ways to transform it into impactful and positive outcomes. We must make our voices heard, be PISSED off that police officers are abusing their power, be PISSED that aside from black and brown men and women being killed at the hands of the police, the murder of black trans women go completely unrecognized and uncared for-their lives matter too.
There will be those who will deny that race has anything to do with these tragic killings (Seriously???)
Let's be 100% racism is a cultural force as much as it is a series of beliefs, and as such, it bears on our subconscious as much as it does our actions. For Americans, race has a strong pull on our sense of fear and our perceptions of aggression, a fact that has more to do with the shameful legacy of slavery and this country's long history of racial demonization than it does any particular set of crime statistics. The stereotype that people of color (specifically black men) are prone to violence has a long pedigree, from the antebellum fears of slave revolts to the 1890s when educated white supremacists took crime statistics and re-worked them to reflect proof of inherent black criminality. Fear of black people (again, largely black men) has a tremendous hold on the American subconscious, and it mixes with our own perceptions in ways that guarantee a tragedy. As a nation, it is one of our deadliest issues; I am angry, PISSED because I am not sure we can fix it.
William Chapman II
Of who I know, RIP........