“Being Black in America should not be a death sentence!” ~Jacob Frey, Mayor, Minneapolis, Minnesota
It has taken me all week to come up with the words to make this post come together. I thought about just posting the title, the quote, and the picture above because, in all honesty, it says ALL that needs to be said. With the recent deaths of a number of Black people at the hands of white vigilantes or white police officers, my soul has just been heavy. When you’re already navigating a global pandemic and grieving for and with friends and family, this week has been ROUGH. Still, something needs to be said. And something most definitely needs to be done.
Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd.
But it’s not enough to say their names. It’s not enough to record the violence as it happens, even though we all know that there is more of a reaction because the violence is being captured on camera. That does not negate the fact that even with video evidence, white people will say “she should have complied”, “if he’d just followed orders”, “he/she shouldn’t have been there”, “stop resisting”, and any number of other phrases to justify the actions of the police. These police officers are murderers. These everyday citizens are murderers. It should not take a Black person’s murder being caught on video for the arrest and conviction of these MURDERERS!
And here’s the deal. EVEN IF A BLACK PERSON IS GUILTY OF A CRIME, they should go through the due process of the “justice” system. White police officers, white neighborhood watch people SHOULD NOT BE the judge, jury, and executioner of Black people in America. And no, I don’t necessarily trust that due process will always work in favor of Black people (that’s another post for another day), but what I do know is that it is not the job of police officers to kneel on a man’s neck with their full weight until he takes his last breath (while handcuffed, no less), or to barge into your home with a no-knock warrant and shoot you when your significant other steps up to defend your home. Nor is it the right of any random person in the neighborhood to hunt you down while going on your daily jog.
“Being Black in America should not be a death sentence.” Truer words have never been spoken. As a Black person, I should not live in constant fear that my Blackness is going to be used against me. I am tired of cycling through these stages every couple of years. I am exhausted by the lack of value placed on Black lives in America. America does not care about Black people, and we get more and more evidence every single day.