My friend called me this morning.
Me: Hey. How’s it going? (my standard)
Him: I’m angry. I’m just angry.
Of course I knew that he was referring to the shooting of 37 year-old Alton Sterling by 3 police officers (two who held him down and 1 who shot him). I told him that I was jealous of him because I felt helpless. I hate feeling helpless. I am a Type A, “we can fix this, “there is a solution to everything,” type of woman.
Not this time.
Not after Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Sean Bell, Eric Garner, Kimani Gray, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray. Not after too many minutes of me clinging my hands and silently praying for someone to held accountable for the violent end to another Black life—for all of the devastated mothers, fatherless children, and broken fathers to always essentially be told, “This Black life didn’t matter.” 0 convictions. Zero. Each time I prayed and I hoped.
Now I have no hope. And that scares me. I don’t’ want to be that person. I can’t let them kill me too.
But while each victim was special and precious, the events following each murder has been identical.
- The victim’s dead body will be shown over and over and over again. How many times have you seen a dead White person’s body on the news?
- The victim will be slaughtered twice: first his body and then his character. Both murders will happen within hours of the other.
- Most Black people will be vocal on all social mediums. White people will continue to post about summer camps, their vacations, and how Billy lost his first tooth. A minority of Black people will be silent because they do not want their White friends, colleagues or communities to think that they are “radical” or anything. 3% of them will think that this problem has nothing to do with them and they are a “different type of Black.” They feel as if they have “out-earned, out educated the problems that the common Negro has.”
- The police will come out with a statement. They will say something about how the video doesn’t tell the entire story. We will need to wait for the police officers account to be proven to be more trustworthy and reliable than actual shot footage.
- The police officers involved will be placed on administrative leave. In other words, they will continue to get paid as the case is investigated.
- There will be protests. 95% will be non-violent. 95% of the people will behave orderly. The media will focus on the 5% who act improperly (most of whom aren’t really part of the protest—just troublemakers in the area).
- Some people will shake their heads at the “insanity” of Black people destroying their own neighborhoods and holding up their communities.
- There will be articles written, debates had. There will be high-ranking officials who will speak out against the senseless killing of Black men. They won’t DO anything.
- When concerned Black people show any outrage, the following will be stated:
- you guys need to focus on Black-on-Black crime
- If the victim hadn’t been breaking the law, this would not have happened
- Blue Lives matter
- If you don’t like the police, don’t call them next time you need help (as if saying that there is a problem with some cops means we are saying there is a problem with all cops).
- Ultimately, the cops will get off.
Then the cycle starts all over again. In other words, another Black man will be murdered by a police officer.
Hours after writing this article about Alton Sterling, Philando Castile was shot 4 times and killed by a Minnesota police officer.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more