You know, it’s wild, I thought I had a post lined up for today and I didn’t. Maybe that was a stroke of creative luck because I have something to say that I didn’t plan on saying.
I found out about Alton Sterling’s murder in Baton Rouge, Louisiana last night before I went to bed. To say that I have grown weary of this narrative is an understatement. It takes a little bit of you every time it happens, the murder of a Black American at the hands of White Supremacy, whether it be cops or vigilantes. It takes a piece of your soul because it’s senseless and it hits extremely close to home. My father is a Black man, my grandfather, my uncles, my cousins, my friends, my 16-year-old nephew is a Black boy (despite the narrative that denies childhood and adolescence to us). That could be one of them. I’m reminded of the men and women dying in police custody and think back to how I spent the weekend at the Carson Sheriff’s station several years back. If things were different, that could’ve been me dead in a cell with no answers as to why it happened. It could be my mother, my nieces, sisters…we are all Black in America and any one of us are a potential target.
And it’s a sad reality to live under. That you are a potential target for no other reason than you try to live life as you should live it, free. You see we’ve never really been free in this country, yeah, we don’t have chains around our necks and wrists and ankles, but ever since we were dragged to this piece of rock rooted between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans we have been oppressed. It didn’t stop when our ancestors were symbolically freed from the chains of slavery because we still got Jim Crow segregation afterwards, and it didn’t stop after the gains of the 1960s, because our leaders were assassinated, our movements infiltrated and destroyed from the inside out and the outside in, drugs and guns were flooded into our communities, and families have been torn apart since we got here. It never stopped, White Supremacy and its faithful agents have never let up and even in 2016, when we’re supposed to be enlightened and post-racial (lies) and we have a (half) Black President we’re still being killed. They may not be using ropes dangling from trees and they may not be mutilating our bodies, but they still murder us. They still leave our blood to run red in the streets, our bodies to sit as a reminder, a warning not to step out of line. Know your place.
It is this reality we live under where as soon as tragedy like this strikes, we protest, we pray, we create hashtags. Those are all worthwhile gestures, needed gestures, because the conversation needs to be had, we do need to let people know that we will not be silent about this like White Supremacy wants us to be. But I fear that with the level of evil that we are facing, that will not be enough. However, I understand that to take such an extreme stance should not be done without careful consideration. You cannot go forth without a plan, because there will be consequences no matter what. Turning the other cheek has only resulted in more bullets. Voting doesn’t save us, especially when we are voting in a system designed against our best interests, hell, designed against its own best interests.
I don’t have the answers though. My opinion is just that, an opinion. It’s not totally practical, but then the other, more peaceful methods have only done so much. What’s the answer? How do you combat White Supremacy when it’s so invasive, sewn into the fabric of this very country, it’s documents, it’s way of being, it’s entire existence? How do you combat something that has invaded and colonized our minds so much?
Alton Sterling had five children, and his oldest son, 15-years-old, broke down at the press conference this morning and called out for his father while his mother stood there and held it together. And I know someone looked at that and had not an ounce of sympathy or empathy for that young man and his family. As it has been passed around this morning, they take our fathers away from us and then deride us for being fatherless. This young man’s father was taken away from him, and for what? Because White Supremacy is some nefarious shit, it is destructive, there is no good to be had in it, it is as if this is the ultimate manifestation of Satan himself, to spread havoc the world over and to terrorize. But we are supposed to just sit and take it. No more.