“Black Lives Matter? No mate. All Lives Matter!”
This statement to me, has to be the most IGNORANT, OBNOXIOUS AND DISSMISSIVE statement of 2016. I mean, not only does it completely ignore the underlying issues that black people have to deal with, it also inadvertently screams Black Lives DO NOT Matter.
Just when you think America has made a huge amount of progress, the clasp of it’s giant hands drags you back in time. If I’m being completely honest with you, I feel as though I was one of the naïve individuals who actually believed America had completely changed because they had just elected their first Black President! (Shout out to Obama). How wrong was I ?
I’m sure you’ve heard about the recent events that have taken place in America. The last two killings of innocent men have particularly touched me because it suddenly dawned on me that the only thing they ever did was be black. Because of their blackness they got stopped. Because of their blackness, they were treated with an unnecessary amount of brutality and because of their blackness they got shot. As a young black lady, it hurts to come to the realisation that black people are still being killed for simply being black. I honestly thought that we had left that behaviour in the history books. Clearly not. Isn’t it sad that we live a world where we fear most, those who are supposed to protect us. (THE POLICE).
My main question for the American government and justice systems is why have these officers not been held accountable for their actions? For me these unjustified killings have just become the modern day form of lynching, except now the people lynching have been given a uniform for us to identify them with. Whilst watching the video of Philando Castile dying after being shot in front of his girlfriend and child, so many questions came to mind. Like, how can any human with a heart watch this video and feel no emotion whatsoever? How can any human watch this video and not feel as though black people are being treated unfairly? How can any human watch this video and stay silent on the issue?
American police officers need to be held accountable for the unjustified brutality. Imagine being an immediate relative of one of the innocent victims. Receiving no closure whatsoever because the person who killed your brother or sister was never brought to justice because they are protected with the shield of white privilege. It’s painful to see that these officers get to walk off scot-free and go back to their families to live their safe, happy life. Meanwhile, on the same street there is a mother crying bitterly as she loses yet another son.
Why is it that whenever an innocent black person is killed the media go out of their way to dig up any past information about the victim to show us why they’re not as innocent as we think they are. I don’t care whether the victim has robbed a bank or stolen from a shop in the past, if they were innocent, unarmed and posing no threat to the officers at the time of the incident, then they do not deserve to be treated with such brutal force. I feel as though the media are often biased when it comes to issues of race. When the video of Philando Castile being shot was put up on the internet, it was plastered all over twitter and I even saw the video being shown on BBC news. However, when 5 officers were shot in Dallas the BBC did not air these videos because they were “too graphic”. But somehow a black man being killed was not “too graphic” to be shown on T.V. This also speaks to the issue of desensitisation, because it almost seems as though the sharing of these brutal videos on social media has made a lot of people less sensitive towards these incidents as they occur all the time.REPORT THIS AD
Even though we may criticise social media in that aspect, it’s also good to give credit where it’s due. Social media has been instrumental in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Without social media many of the peaceful protests which we have seen take place all over the world, would have never happened. It was great to see the unity and solidarity of black people all over the world. Just a simple but meaningful hashtag, has essentially empowered the black community and encouraged us to make a change. Platforms like Twitter were very important. In fact, Twitter was the reason I even attended the protest in central London.
Attending the protests was one of the most amazing experiences I have had this summer. It was so empowering to be surrounded by other young people who were equally as passionate about the cause. I went along with my friend Sade and even though we were late, we still managed to catch the protest outside of parliament. The crowd stood in a circle and anyone who had a message they wanted to share was allowed to step in the centre and share their message. All of the messages were powerful, however the one which stood out most to me was the one from a young white lady who had travelled to London and decided to take part in the protests. She burst into tears as she was explaining the situation in America. I was particularly surprised to hear that even though she was white, her parents were worried that she would get shot or hurt if she went along to one of the BlackLivesMatter protests in America. I truly admired and respected her presence at this protest because she had taken the time out of her holiday to protest alongside us. She could’ve easily turned a blind eye towards the situation and stayed silent as the situation may not have directly affected her. I really respect her courage and wish that more people had this kind of courage to stand up for matters which may not directly affect them.
This has just been a long, unstructured rant from me. lol. But I just wanted to express some of the thoughts and feelings I had towards the situation in America. There’s so much more that I could say, but if I did we’d be here forever. So, I just want to leave you with this quote that has inspired me to make sure I always stand up for what I believe in and I hope it inspires you too!
“IF YOU STAND FOR NOTHING YOU’LL FALL FOR ANYTHING”