The last few months have added more black bodies at the hands of white vigilantes and police officers to an ever-growing list of violence against fellow Americans and the police officers sworn to protect them. More mothers joining a club no mother ever wants to be a part of. Families devastated from the loss of loved ones. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
We watched in horror as Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down as he jogged in his own neighborhood. It took nationwide outrage and the hashtag RunwithMaud before the culprits responsible for Ahmaud’s death were arrested-two months after his murder. For two months while Ahmaud’s family mourned his death his killers were out on the street as if nothing happened. White privilege.
Breonna Taylor, an EMT and an essential worker was asleep in her Louisville home after a long day of work when shortly after midnight a no knock warrant was executed. Fearing her home was being broken into, Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker (a licensed firearm carrier) shot at what they assumed were intruders. Walker shot an officer in the leg and police blindly shot into the home killing Breonna still in bed. Walker was arrested and charged with first degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer. The police officers who killed Breonna are yet to be charged for her murder. While Walker was arrested in March, it wasn’t until late May that he was released from jail with all charges dismissed against him. Again. White privilege.
George Floyd, accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill during a grocery store stop was assaulted by police. A nine minute cell phone video captured his last moments as former officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck, hand in pocket. Floyd was handcuffed face down on the street posing no threat to the officer. Much of the public’s outrage came from not only watching the public lynching of a black man by this white officer, but the lack of care of concern of the three officers who also held Floyd down aiding to his death. All went home to their families while George Floyd’s family was destroyed. White privilege.
Year after year, hashtag after hashtag Black Americans watch in horror as we are being gunned down in the streets by white supremacists and police officers alike. Many without any consequences to their actions. Black bodies are being killed while White America looks the other way. With the death of George Floyd, something in Black America cracked. We had had enough. It was time to hold America accountable not only for the death of George Floyd but for the constant disregard of Black lives since the inception of America. It was time we fought back.
For a little over a week now Black Americans have been gathering across all fifty states to protest the treatment of Black people through white supremacy in every aspect of our lives. George Floyd was the catalyst that we needed to stand up to the racist government designed to keep their proverbial foot on Black Americans’ necks. We are tired of being targeted because of the color of our skin. We are tired of white people constantly looking the other way while more and more black bodies are piling up. In our protest we called out racist practices in white people who stand idly by and don’t speak up as the constant mistreatment of Black Americans increases.
Malcolm X said it best when he said, “They (white people) don’t try and eliminate an evil because it’s evil, or because it’s illegal, or because it’s immoral; they eliminate it only when it threatens their existence.” Black Americans threatened white supremacy through an insurgence. It was only when businesses and property were destroyed that white people decided to listen.
White America, agreed to mute themselves on their social media platforms for a day to listen to Black Americans and learn about their experiences being Black in America. While a day of listening is greatly needed. It’s time for white America to go beyond listening and start taking action. It’s not enough anymore to claim not to be a racist, white America must do the work to be anti racist. Being anti racist means calling out practices that enable fellow white people to find comfort in their closet discrimination.
I’ve put together a reading list to continue the conversation for white people who want to do the work. For white people who want to understand why being Black in America is at times the worse experience. If you want to learn how to be anti-racist, take some time to educate yourself. See what it’s like to be Black in a world where the color of your skin gives you a privilege not afforded to your fellow more melanated Americans. It’s on all of us to be anti-racist.
The only way to dismantle systemic racism is to educate ourselves on the oppression and racial bias of Black people and ways to protect the most marginalized people in this country.
Black Lives Matter. Have always mattered. Will always Matter.
You can also check out this blog to black Mommies with resources of what you can do now.