“And if anyone ever stops you, you put your hands up. Drop everything you’re holding and make sure the officer can see your empty hands, crystal clear,” her father announced, in the most authoritative and serious tone he could muster. “I understand daddy,” the 4-year-old replied.
Imagine living in constant fear. Not only for your own life but for your kids’, for your parents, for your friends. It sounds excessive when you read about it, but that exact sentiment is conventional among those that are dark-skinned and live in the United States of America.
George Floyd’s murder did not cause the uproar that echoes through streets around the world today. It only ignited the flame. There was already a fire of anger and resentment burning through the halls of injustice. The Minneapolis police officer’s horrendous act fueled the flame.
A packet of skittles candy. A toy gun. Selling CDs. Reaching for your driver’s license when asked to do so. Jogging. Sleeping in your own house. Wearing a ski mask for having anemia. This got them killed. Numerous black men, women, and kids have lost their lives because their everyday routine struck venal men in blue as suspicious, dangerous.
Can you imagine living in a world where when confronted by the authority for mesial reasons, it wouldn’t matter if you were innocent or guilty? It wouldn’t matter if you were repentant or impenitent. It wouldn’t matter if you were resisting apprehension or if you were complying with all the official’s instructions. It wouldn’t matter if you were veritable or arbitrary. It wouldn’t even matter if you outranked the officer in a formal setting. You wouldn’t have rights or even so much as a voice in what happens to you. Why? Because the amount of melanin content in your skin would have already decided for you.
“Take it to the streets, defund the police. No justice, No Peace.” This chant resonated through the streets of Minneapolis as enraged protesters peacefully marched in dissent of the corrupt justice system.
The Black lives matter movement birthed a turmoil internationally. Belgium, Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Jamaica, Barbados, Mexico, Brazil, Guadeloupe, Australia, Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, Bermuda and a plethora of citizens, globally, paid their respects and protested the abhorrent murder of countless black citizens.
“Daddy changed the world,” Floyd’s 6-year-old proudly said while attending a local protest. She shouldn’t have to be put through that though. No child should have to be exposed to the vitriolic oppression the legal system practices callously. In contrast, no parent should have to be put through losing their child at such a tender age. No mother should have to live knowing that the last word her son/daughter breathed was “mamma please help me,” but she couldn’t protect her precious baby.
Families go to grieve their lost, loved one after they’ve yawped over the deceased’s blood sprawled across the coarse concrete, and then, they wait and wait and wait for the police and the coroner and the county to get their accounts straight and their act together. Simultaneously, their privilege sits crooked as a cheap wig would, but that’s okay because they have boundless time to stitch it, on the trot, constantly correct it, until finally, it is immovably flawless.
All that time they spent, simply preparing, holding their whiteness and authority up as mirrors for each other, tuning out the vengeful wails of a mourning community – or adulterating them, rather; and that was their truth. But their truth, need not be our truth.
How the media managed to depict peaceful protests in the state of mens rea, still remains staggering to me. A majority of the audience still remains oblivious to the fact that policemen suspended their uniform for the day to go undercover in masses of protesters to initiate the violence, just so the congregations could be dispersed via the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and brutal force.
Citizens have lost their eyes, they have swollen lips, severely bruised body parts; and for what? For a cause with a goal whose ideology shouldn’t even be up for debate. “All animals are equal but some are more equal,” George Orwell’s Animal farm revealed. This is a replica of what we face today, fighting the same battle that has been being fought for over decades.
Labeled “thugs” by their very own president for practicing their own freedom of speech while the country proudly broadcasted as the whites protested the quarantine with rifles in their hands. That’s the difference. Threatening harm is all right if you’re in a state of distress, you are a respected member of the community after all, aren’t you? Yes; but only if you are white.
“ACAB” was graffitied across countless walls, to -in the most peaceful way speak up about how black communities were unfairly treated and diligently discriminated against. Although that stands true for a majority of corrupt-moraled police officers, it discredits those who were brave enough to stand up for the movement, on the protesters’ side.
Paul Pazen. Nick Travisano. Joseph Wysocki. Jerri Williams. These are names of just a few honest, ethically humane officers that preached the disputed concept of black lives matter. “The good cops are sick to their stomachs,” the New Jersey Chief of police said.
“All lives matter” some angry white supremacists riposted. That is not the purpose of the BLM movement, however- to undermine other races that are. The fundamentalism of humanity dictates that everyone is created equal, your actions rank you otherwise; but how are these gentlemen and women to prove themselves if they are killed before being given the chance to?
All lives cannot matter until Black lives matter.
Written by Manya Dubey