It’s what I’m starting to believe…
On the 5th of July, Alton Sterling was shot by two police officers over the mere suspicion of gun possession when he was already neutralised on the ground. Less than 24 hours later – the same amount of time we find so short to get everything done in a day – Philando Castile is stopped over a broken tail light before being shot four times before he could even reach for his ID papers.
And this is a daily occurence. As of July 2016, more than 500 people have died at the hands of a police officer. The very hands which are supposed to serve and protect them. Most of the victims were Black and it was the same last year, the year before and the years before that. How heartbreaking is this?
At a time where the Black Panthers are calling out for Black people to arm up again, how heartbreaking is this to see history repeating itself? To even think that despite everything, Black people are still not free of the fear of being killed at any given point in time?
Why does this matter to me, you’ll ask. I mean, I’m French, pretty much protected from all this and I don’t even live in the States. But you see, as a Black woman of Caribbean descent, I share too much history with Afro Americans to turn a blind eye on what has been going on for
so long forever. If you think we’re not regarded as second class citizens in the country of the Human Rights, do not be fooled, because we are.
Waking up to these two gruesome videos got me stewing up in a state of rage and despair I never knew I could feel before. Something so strong it could tear down a whole country.
My open-mindedness, my love for humanity, my desire for peace, my compassion and will to understand and forgive progressively melt down until the only thing left was pure hatred oozing out of me… a very distinct desire for blood and blind vengeance for centuries of alienation, mistreatments, physical and psychological torture, killings of people looking just like me, for the colour of their skin.
If as a Black person, you say you’ve never felt it, you’re lying.
You’ve heard their names before. Tamir, Trayvon, Eric, Laquan, Michael, Rekia, Mya, Sandra, Alton, Philando and countless others. None of the police officers involved in their deaths has been convicted for their crime.
They all said they feared for their lives. But tell me, what can you fear so much to point at and shoot someone not resisting you, someone already pinned down to the ground, when you’re two or three crushing their back?
Tell me, what is so frightening about a Black body that you feel threatened as soon as they talk to you or look at you or even when they stand still in front of you?
What is so frightening about a human body, a human life – just like yours – that justifies four bullets in a man in front of a four-year-old in the backseat of a car?
Times and times again, police officers have proven their ability to de-escalate violence when white shooters, mass-murderers are involved… while tackling and shooting at point-blank range six bullets in a man’s chest before even trying to speak or understand the situation.
How aren’t we human enough to deserve to breathe one more day?
How is this right when a gorilla in a zoo sparks more outrage and draws more sympathy than Black blood spilt in the streets of their own cities?
Oh please, today spare me your false rhetoric on Black on Black crime. Spare me your theories about the culture of violence in Black communities. The system we live in has been rigged since day one. There is not a day we haven’t been fighting oppression, white supremacy and systemic racism in countries that have built their fortune on lashed Black backs.
Police brutality finds its origins in the slave codes that ruled Black lives from the day they were shipped to America. Our bodies were properties, livestock, furniture… never human. It only changed for us to be strange fruits swinging in the breeze.
What is it about Black skin that is so scary that we have to be subdued at all costs? Did we ever wage a war against you? I thought we simply asked for equality, for a chance to work fairly, have a home, a family; to be able to live — without a target on our backs.
When will you admit it is a problem since no one wants to be treated as a Black person in America.
Black people have grown tired to ask politely. They marched, demonstrated, peacefully protested, lifted their arms, raised their voices. And yet, Black lives still don’t matter.
Yesterday, five police officers were killed in Dallas on the sidelines of a peaceful protest against police brutality. I wonder though… how many more dead Black bodies are we about to find strewing the streets of America to pay for those deaths?