In wake of the verdict in the Alton Sterling case coming in not guilty for the Baton Rouge, Louisiana officers who were accused of killing Alton Sterling I found myself thinking about my own mortality! How unfair is it that I have to think about my own existence as Black man in America and how easily those who were sworn to “serve and protect” can vanquish my life. Serve whom exactly? Protect whom exactly? Is it white folks? Is it the rich and wealth? Is justice truly blind? So many questions and I find it extremely annoying that as Black person in America I have to think about these things on a constant perpetual basis. Racism and police brutality are the apps that run in the background of my mind. I cannot run from it because police will probably shoot me in my back, I cannot hide from it because police will probably shoot me once I’m found. Why do I have to walk around outside hyper vigilant to how my body is moving through space and time? Why do I have to unconsciously count the number of officers I see walking down the street or how many cop cars are in the area? I have not done anything wrong except be Black in America and I still feel like a half a criminal.
I hear and read comments that suggest that police stop and brutalize Black men, young Black men in particular, because of the way we dress. If this is so tell me why every time I see a photo of a lynch mob and the unfortunate Black man who was hung is always wearing slacks and a button up? We cannot scapegoat or dress our way out of white supremacy and injustice when it comes to Black folks. So what my pants are sagging and I am wearing a white t-shirt? Does this style of dress warrant a police officer to stop me “randomly” for questioning knowing damn well every interaction between a police officer and a Black man may result in a homicide? We as Black people cannot adopt the idea that we are somehow deserving or inviting the unjust and inhumane treatment we receive from the police and white supremacy sympathizers! We must not find fault within ourselves to somehow justify the wrong doings of others just to make sense of the madness.
Black men should not be hunted, stalked, and murder by trigger-happy police officers or white supremacy sympathizers. My introduction to manhood happened on November 25, which was the same day I turned 18 and happened to be the day New York City police officers senselessly gunned down Sean Bell in a hail of over 50 bullets! What a wonderful birthday present! (read with the most venom and vitriol one can muster) Perhaps the saddest part of the state sponsored violence we see everyday is that it is not going to stop anytime soon. We can barely finish writing “#BLM” before there is another name who is made a hashtag on social media and 9 out of 10 times it is an unarmed Black man slain by the police.
R.I.P. to Alton Sterling and all the other names known and unknown murder due to state sanctioned violence and white supremacy!