I didn’t create this blog with into to sully its content with depressive narratives, but this is a blog for my thoughts, and as a black man in America some things cannot be ignored. I will try to keep my thoughts succinct.
Alton Sterling June 5, 2016, 37-year-old black man, tackled and shot by police officers who already had him subdued on the ground. He was unarmed. Philando Castile, June 6, 2016, 32-year-old black man, shot in his car by police officers who asked for his ID, after he told them he had a weapon and a concealed carry permit. There is lurid video evidence of both incidents. Both are dead. These aren’t accidents. These aren’t justifiable occurrences. These aren’t events in which the officers involved should be able to be considered innocent in any light. This is racism.
Racism in 2016 is different than racism in the 1960’s or prior. Back then, racism was the liberal use of the word “nigger” in a way meant to demean black people, or segregating certain facilities and giving them noticeably less suitable conditions than those given to whites. It stemmed from the cotton-picking, whip cracking slave days in which we were thought of as property and less than human. Today no one would dare call a black person less than human publically (the internet is widely anonymous and is thus immune to this effect in many cases), for fear of social and judicial reprimand.
Racism is 2016 involves a level of conditioning that takes root from the 1800s up to now. While great strides have been made for equality, the stereotypes and stigmas are strong and ingrained into society’s mind. The media and law enforcement have painted a gruesome picture of what they want black people to be, as opposed to what they really are. The filming of arrests in hoods, and the propagation of the Drug War are perfect examples of a lens focusing that points black people out as violent individuals, quick to anger and aggression. The system is a cyclic cog that creates an inevitable loop that can only label us as such.
We are called violent and then attacked, and then “proven” to be violent due to the response to those attacks. We are killed and then branded angry and violent for having a valid issue to be angry at. If we are seen as intelligent and unapologetically black then we are “Social Justice Warriors” looking for racism where it doesn’t exist. When we claim something, it is taken away by the colorblind ideologies, such as the whitewashing of the “Black Lives Matter” movement with the ignorant rise of “All Lives Matter.”
We are often asked, “why does everything have to be about race?” And the answer is always “Because it is about race. Always” Everything is. They way we are viewed in society shifts based on skin color and tone. A white man would not have been shot in his card as he reached for his ID. A white man would not have been tackled and gunned down in the street after> he was proven to be unarmed and uninvolved in any altercation. We never see it happen. It isn’t because white men are less violent, it’s because black men are targeted.
This is Racism. The psychological barriers that keep people from seeing black men and women as normal human beings. Racism is the assumption that we are barbaric and unintelligent. Racism is the white woman clutching her purse an elevator. Racism is the searching a black man’s car without warrant with a pretense related only to minor traffic violations. Racism is calling the police because a black individual is walking down the street in an affluent neighborhood. Racism is the re-selection of the jury by prosecution in the court of law for virtually any reason. Racism is the institutionalized raiding of “hoods” and the system of mass incarceration. Racism is the freedoms stripped away for serving any jail time. Racism is the beating, shooting, and killing of black people by police officers without reprimand. This is racism, and being a black man in America who is just trying to live my life and be successful like everyone else, it is terrifying.