I promised myself a while back that I would stop writing about the deaths of black men in the United States by law enforcement. It was no reason to beat a dead horse in my mind.
I’m 24-years-old and I’m ok with the fact that this is life in the United States of America, it’s the price you pay as a black person to live in the “greatest country in the world”. You can ague if my prior statement is hyperbole if you would choose to, but before you would I would ask you two questions?
- Are you black?
- And if not, would you choose to be black?
On Monday, a South Carolina judge declared a mistrial in the case of Walter Scott after the jury was deadlocked, a man shot last year in South Carolina by former police officer Michael Slager.
This wasn’t anything new, just the latest indication on how life unfortunately plays out for black and mainly poor life in the United States.
So I wondered why it bothered me so much, why this mattered any more than the many other stories we had heard of – Eric Garner, Tamir Brown, etc etc.
It was the victory, temporary for the time, of the fight to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline project after the Obama administration Sunday said it had denied a permit needed to complete the final leg of the project.
It reminded me of the many times black people believed that they had won that victory had been won. Maybe I’m naive, too young or a little bit of both to just now realize that there wasn’t victory or justice for black life in this country.
After reading reports that the fight for the pipeline wasn’t over and that President-elect Donald Trump was in support of continuing the project. In six weeks we could be right back to this fight and battle over whether or not to complete the pipeline.
Then it hit me the issues in Dakota and the mistrial of Walter Scott all stemmed from one central theme. The lack of humanity seen in “these people”.
Would a person who was fleeing the police for a non-violent offensive crime, whose murder was caught on tape and no weapon was found on him have his murder trial declared a mistrial if he was seen as nothing less than human?
Would a pipeline that would effect the water supply of a group of people, children included be seen as suitable if these people were seen as nothing less than human?
I’m tired of arguing about racism and now I’m tired of arguing for people to see the humanity in people.
So here’s my last take on it.
Who are you to decide the life of any person should be treated with less regard than your life? When did a country who screams and points at foreign countries such as Russia, Cuba and Syria for violation of human rights, continue over and over again to violate the human rights of black, indigenous and other minority groups in this country?
The same country that can sell you that patriotism to a flag and voting is more important than actually having justice work out for you in the court systems or that same government having the decency to not want to route a pipeline that would damage your water supply. I guess it shouldn’t be a shock though – Flint, Michigan water supply has contaminated with lead and the government knew and had no care to do anything about it. People, in the United States had to use bottle watered to cook, clean and bathe themselves in 2016.
So fuck respectability, fuck your guilt, fuck caring about the issues that effect only you and not caring about the humanity of people unless it benefits your feelings.
I’ll no longer fight to be seen as equally human to other people and that’s just that.