I don’t want you all to perceive my silence on social media as turning an eye on my community. The truth is, I needed to take some time to process my emotions. Three days ago, I saw a black man, George Floyd, brutally murdered via strangulation by a Minnesota police officer. I’d give everything not to have seen what I saw. Let me just say this, it’s triggering to see (and continuously see) violent videos of black people being harassed or killed. There’s no protection for our black community. Why is it that black death must be spread and broadcasted? Please- think before you share content like this.
Why do I say this? You may see a stranger being killed but I see my dad, my brother, my friends who, because of the wrong comment or action, could too end up face down with a knee to their neck.
George Floyd did not deserve to die. Neither did Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown. There is no justification for the force, power, or rage used against black people by police officers. None.
Black people in this country have been victims of white supremacy even before we landed from the shores of Africa. Through slavery, sharecropping, Jim Crow, and now systematic imprisonment we’ve continuously fought for our placement in this country.
I am not here to argue, I’m here to inform. There is grave injustice in the criminal system of the United States of America. It is broken. There is no protection for my people. When I was little, my parents sat us down and told us what to do if we are to encounter with the police. Keep your hands on the dash. Don’t talk back. Comply. New generation- same thing. Record everything. Do as your told and maybe, just maybe you won’t be killed.
When I was in Ghana, my friends and I were stopped by 6 police officers at 2 am. We had too many people in our car. 3 of us were American, and you could tell by the way our bodies tensed up. Our Ghanaian friends carried on with the police, talking back in their faces and even asking them to leave us alone. I was shocked. They did not fear their lives. They never thought for a second that these six armed men would shoot them for standing too close or not listening to a direction. It was the first time I ever could truly breathe in the presence of police officers.
As a world traveler, I can tell you white supremacy and anti-black sentiments are not unique to the United States of America. The hatred for Black people is systematic and global. I experienced racism in countries like India and Germany. But here’s the thing... I don’t fear my life abroad, I do fear my life in this country.
Globally, our black skin speaks before our words do. We aren’t granted the same kind of innocence. People do not look at us and see our education, accolades, or net worth. They don’t distinguish if we’re Ghanaian, Jamaican, or Brazilian. They see black.
Everyday we walk with bated breath careful not to disturb, draw too much attention to ourselves. To avoid racist encounters by women in Central Park. To avoid police calls about a “suspicious” person delivering packages in UPS uniforms. To shield of us from residents of our own living communities calling the police on us because we’re dressed differently, or behaving “unusually”.
My community is tired.
Black people are tired of the regurgitated Dr. King quotes about peaceful existence being thrown in our faces every time we protest injustice. One man, while influential, does not speak for the entire black community. Dr. King even once said “a riot is the language of the unheard.” He understood why they exist. And the truth of the matter is Dr. King preached peace and was still murdered.
We’re tired of your silence. We’re tired of peoples performative social media posts. We’re tired of being asked “what should I do?” We’re tired of having to explain why the term all lives matter is useless when there’s thousands of articles, think pieces, and research on this.
Black lives matter, always, every day.
There’s no resounding conclusion I can bring to this post.
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