When asked why we are so adamant about using "Black Lives Matter," it's hard not to respond with hostility. It is difficult to help someone understand the many complex reasons why it's a ridiculous question. The easiest way to put it is this: We are fighting for existence. We are arguing that each breathe we take is a right we are born with yet is being systematically taken by our unjust "judicial system." Everyday on the media we are forced to look at image after image of Black bodies, or story after story of "Black Crime," which are attempts to justify the illogical numbers of the prison population. African Americans make up an estimated 13.2% of the American population but for some reason comprise nearly 40% of American prisons. How can one of the smallest populations in the country account for so much crime?
Let's say there is an empty jar that represented the prison population in America. You also have 100 Jelly Beans, each color coded to represent all ethnicities, that resemble the population of America. If you took 13 jelly Beans ( that's 100% of African Americans) and put them in the empty jar by no means would that make up 40% of said jar. This illustrates the discrepancies in the American justice system that we can no longer overlook. In NY alone Hispanics are frisked 5 times more than whites, and Blacks about 11 times more. From July 1 - September 30 2014 there were 6,134 Blacks and 2,821 Hispanics stopped. In comparison to only 1,227 whites being stopped. These numbers come directly from the public police reports of the NYPD that includes all precincts.
Blacks, and all minorities, in America are tired of the discrepancies. We live in a world that is supposed to be governed by laws that protect everyone equally, but the fact of the matter is: they don't. A man can be choked on camera, have his death confirmed as homicide by a medical examiner and his family will STILL receive no justice. In no country should that be OK, especially in the country that prides itself on "Democracy". Many people who ask why Blacks in America are protesting or why they are so concerned with "Black Lives Matter" don't understand how marginalized we feel by the system. The media tells us we commit more crimes, we don't respect authority, and that we don't deserve full due process of the justice system. Well we do. No parent should have to tell their child that they may be stopped, arrested, or even assaulted (without any apparent reason) by the very men and women sworn to protect them. No parent should have to watch videos of her son or daughter being murdered and know that they will never receive justice. No parent should have to teach their child that they should never look a cop in the eye for fear of appearing as a threat. It shouldn't take a sea of dead bodies for America to realize WE have a problem.
Since the birth of America Blacks have been fighting for their equality. Not just by law, but by practice. We have been fighting to be heard, fighting to be seen, and fighting to be acknowledged. We have been fighting to live. Our purpose isn't to "bring down America" or "make everything about race" our purpose is to wake everyone up. It is to make America see just how much suffering there is right here on our own soil. How many more bodies must fall before the issues are addressed? How many more suffering mothers do we need to have justice for our fallen brothers and sisters? How many more children must be shot before we regulate our policies?
Why do we say Black Lives matter?
We are tired. We are angry. We are mobilizing. This is not a game. This is not some parody of life, although it may seem that way. Black bodies are hitting the pavement like rain. Black. Lives. Matter. We are sane enough to understand that ALL lives matter, but when you tell us that to focus on Blacks lives is a little "selfish and close minded" is to tell us that our people aren't worth the effort. It is to tell us that we are not worth the trouble, not worth the time, just not worthy enough. And THAT is why we say Black Lives Matter. We are arguing for our very own humanity. We are arguing to live. We are arguing to BREATHE!
245 years. That was how long my people were enslaved. That is how long my people were beaten, raped, killed, and slaughtered. That is how long we were seen as less than human. As less than animals. As less than beings. We were property to be bought and sold. 245 years. And that's just slavery. How in any realistic world, when the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964 (only 50 years ago), can this possibly be a "post racial society?" The same people who were lynching Blacks are STILL ALIVE. There is a hatred for Blacks that is seeped in the very spirit of America and the fact that an elk is given more justice than a human being is proof of that. Wake up. There will be protesting. There will be grieving. But there has been no justice. From 1620-1964 (344 years) Black people were seen as barely human beings, and I see that has yet to change. #BlackLivesMatter