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Black lives have never mattered

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Illustration by: Ahyana Riley | Staff Illustrator

The recent slaughters of black Americans, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, have re-ignited the outrage and hurt felt by many black people in regards to police brutality. After the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Brown and many other black people at the hands of cops, we have been forced to face the reality that our lives mean nothing to white America.

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man selling CDs in a parking lot, was shot several times by law enforcement officers in front of several bystanders. Police claimed he had a gun and that was reason enough to kill a father, a brother, a human.

Philando Castile was pulled over with his girlfriend and 4-year-old daughter in the car during a routine Minnesota traffic stop. Castile told the police he had a gun, but that he was going to reach for his wallet, which held his license. As Castile moved to retrieve his wallet he was shot four times in front of his woman and child.

Black lives matter so little that we don’t have the freedom to exercise the rights promised to us by the Constitution.

Black lives are so irrelevant that we can be killed in front of our small children and they have to comfort us instead of the other way around.

Black lives are so inconsequential that when we try to protest and demand change, individuals target the Dallas Police and blame the killing on us.

Black lives are so trivial that when the topic of police brutality is mentioned, ignorant people bring up black-on-black crime as if it has any correlation to our deaths at the hands of police.

Black lives are such a non-factor that we are labeled as violent and dangerous even if we aren’t.

Black lives have never mattered. Police brutality is not an issue that arose overnight. The institution has murdered black people since the foundation of this country.  Our parents teach us to be docile and extraneously polite when dealing with cops and white people. They teach us to appear as meek and non-threatening as possible because they know, just as we know, that we can be executed at any moment without justice.

The only difference between police brutality now and in the past, is social media and smart phones. With an increase in technology we are able to capture our experiences, which should be a beautiful thing—and at times is. Now, our fellow Americans are forced to witness what black people go through on a sometimes-daily basis.

We don’t need your pity or your sympathy. We don’t need to know how the genocide of our people makes you feel. We have been dealing with your police, your laws and your rules our entire lives.

The laws meant to protect all Americans only protect a few. The police officers paid to ensure the safety of the population, only shelter a few.

Those that have the audacity to utter the words, “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” are only cementing what us lil ol’ black folks already know:

All Lives Matter—more than black lives.

Blue Lives Matter—and are much more important than black lives.

Many of us are left wondering; how do we live in a society that does not care about our rights or basic humanity? How do we go about our daily lives knowing that we can be killed at any moment?

A lot of us are out of answers and ideas. We do not know how to fix a problem that has had centuries to grow unchecked or how to comfort and appease white guilt. We do not care about your feelings. We are too busy trying to stay alive.

Black lives have never mattered to the United States as a whole—even though we have fought in your wars, raised your children, cooked your meals and entertained you. Our black lives have not mattered to you, but they sure as hell are important to us.

5 COMMENTS

  1. This has nothing to do with race. It has to do with the culture they were raised in. Blacks tend to drop out of high school at significantly higher rates. They tend not to go to college. Blacks are more often raised in single parents homes. Blacks account for roughly 13% of the population but make up over 50% of the crime. There are countless minorities who have conversations with the police and they don’t get arrested or shot. If you stop with the propaganda of all cops are bad then maybe things would change. Treat them with respect.

    • Yeah you know what their culture is? No one knows because white people like you dragged them here from Africa, took their names away, took their religion away, took their culture away. And then when the “whites” set them free, they were give no benefits to start on the right foot. Whites had ancestral money, positions in the government, what did blacks have? So don’t go ape shit about race vs. culture. Most of the people who live in projects where put there as part of structural racism and they can’t get out of there because their schools suck, their public parks suck, there are no jobs. How do you expect a whole race, a whole nation to fix itself after you enslaved them, beat them, rape them, kill them??? Do you have a plan?

    • You are truly so ignorant. Black PEOPLE (not Blacks, you soggy old racist) were and are placed in a system designed to make them fail in society. Their schools are underfunded, their neighborhoods are laden with drugs, and they are harassed- no. Persecuted constantly by people who share your mentality but have weapons. You are going to shrug off my response because your horrifically biased view of the world makes you think that black people commit more crime, and they are just not as smart as Whites, but you are blind. You don’t see how the US abandoned a hub of Black Culture and let a hurricane tear through it without batting an eye. You don’t see how White slave owners were compensated for their slaves, but Black people were never compensated for being forced into bondage. You are disgusting and your closed mind shows everything wrong with America. Grow up. Fuck off.

  2. Great point. They never mattered, they NEED to matter. I wish people would take this more seriously. Instead you have angry people shouting “Not all cops!”. Pretty sad. Anyway, nice article.

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