I don’t even know where to start. This has been one of the most mentally and emotionally draining weeks of my adult life. Tuesday night I logged into my Facebook account and saw the #AltonSterling hashtag trending accompanied by a horrific video of him being shot by Baton Rouge police officers. My heart sunk and I thought to myself another one of my brothers has gone. The next morning I woke up in a terrible mood, but couldn’t figure out why until I realized the only thing that was on my mind was Alton Sterling. The feelings of being shocked, angry, and sad took over me at various stages and in no particular order. As a black woman, when you’re surrounded by white society, for some reason you feel forced to pretend as though everything is okay. I conducted my day doing just that. Wednesday night I get home only to find out that there has been another police shooting of the cold blooded murder of Philando Castile. I forced myself to watch the live video footage only to see death in real time and to hear the screams and cries of his girlfriend while her young daughter comforted her. It didn’t seem real and I felt as though I was in some sort of alternate reality. My heart dropped for the second time and I wept. I dried my eyes and began to weep more.
To make matters worse, this morning I logged back into my Facebook account and see that there has been another shooting, but this time in my city of Houston, Texas. Although the story is still unfolding, there has been different reports saying that the suspect, Alva Braziel, pointed his pistol at officers and other reports saying that the suspect had his hands up when the two officers spewed multiple rounds into him. Louisiana, Texas, as well as Minnesota are all open carry states.
Throughout the past few days people, mainly white people, casually asked, “How are you?” in passing. I live in the south so speaking to one another is a normal occurrence. I responded with several variations of, “Hi, I’m well.” Why did I lie knowing that at that moment I felt as if I were about to break? Was it because I was afraid of being that angry black woman? Maybe it was because I felt as if they wouldn’t understand. Unfortunately, there are two America’s that we live in, the America that gives certain citizens the ability to express their freedoms and unalienable rights and the America where freedom is only an illusion to feel included by the minority group of citizens. For the past few days I have broken down in tears. I cried because I felt alone being surrounded by White-America and at times, even amongst my own people. I felt ashamed that I even had the audacity to cry. I’m supposed to be a strong black woman that’s capable of handling whatever is thrown at her. I’m supposed to be one of those God-fearing women who’s able to deliver an illustrious and powerful prayer in the midst of despair. Truth is, I’m tired. I’m tired of pretending that I’m capable of handling every bad situation with grace. I’m tired of pretending as though everything is okay. I’m tired of pretending that I live in the same America as my white counterparts. I’m tired of praying for evils to go away and hoping for the best possible outcome. I’m tired of seeing women weep and black bodies laying in the streets. I don’t want to pretend anymore. In the words of Neely Fuller Jr., “Until you understand white supremacy everything else will confuse you.” Police brutality is just a branch of the white supremacy tree. We must uproot and dismantle the entire tree in order to obtain justice. Wherever there’s no justice for all citizens then there will never be a such thing as peace. Although, I do not condone violence, unless you are trying to protect yourself or your family, the police shooting in Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia was an unfortunate inevitable. You cannot oppress a group of people for over 450 years and expect the oppressed group to confront you peacefully.
“Dr. King’s policy was that nonviolence would achieve the gains for black people in the United States. His major assumption was that if you are nonviolent, if you suffer, your opponent will see your suffering and will be moved to change his heart. That’s very good. He only made one fallacious assumption: In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.”
-Stokely Carmichael also known as Kwame Toure
Unfortunately, there are only two things that White-America will ever understand and respond to, that’s the loss of life and the loss of money. We can no longer remain silent, we can no longer pray it away, and we can longer continue to spend money with business, people, and corporations who profit off of the oppression of black people. We must take a stance against this socially, politically, and most of all economically. On my Instagram post a follower wanted to know my opinion on how to end police brutality. I responded by saying the following:
“One of the reasons why the Jews are so successful is that they care about the well being of their own first. Almost every other ethnic group does this except for black people. I feel as though once we come together as a people, globally, on a Pan-African level, then everything else will fall into place. That also includes building up our economic structure. Black people have absolutely no economic power. Money within the black community only circulates for no more than 6 hours. We are constantly spending money with corporations that finance the mass imprisonment of black bodies, we send our children to white-owned schools that are infamous for supporting the school-to-prison-pipeline, and we constantly beg white folks to hire us. We need to have an unapologetic do-for-self mindset.”
Needless to say, although I am tired, I am not weak and will continue to fight for the liberation of all African people globally. It’s time to put an end to police brutality and white supremacy.
Please check out this helpful inforgraphic by Just Jasmine Blog