We Protest, We Rage, We Hashtag And We Still Go Unheard In America
Black people have been brutalized and victimized physically, emotionally and financially since we were stolen from Africa and brought to America for slavery.
June 01, 2020 at 6:46 pm
In 2016, I wrote an article titled, Black Lives vs. All Lives and Blue Lives: Why are non-Blacks threatened by the Black Lives Matter Movement? In 2019, following the police murder of Pamela Shantay Turner in Baytown, Texas, I wrote a follow-up titled, Yes, Black Lives Still Matter. No, We Won’t Let You Forget It.
As the back-to-back videotaped murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd have gripped the nation during a world-wide pandemic, Black folks in America are again expressing our deep hurt, fear and confusion around these ever-recurring murders of unarmed Black people. Over the years we have seen with our own eyes the unjustified (regardless of the ultimate jury verdicts) and disturbing videos of the police murders of Walter Scott, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, but these types of murders are nothing new in America.
Black people have been brutalized and victimized physically, emotionally and financially since we were stolen from Africa and brought to America for slavery. We have taken action, we have organized, and have had movements and protests, but nothing seems to change. From the civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter, we have raised our voices in the fight against the deprivation of our human rights, but again, little has changed. It is time to be honest — Black lives don’t really matter in America.
Why do I say Black lives don’t matter in America? Well, there are more reasons than I can list, but it all comes down to the notion that if Black lives really mattered in America, Black people would not be constantly under attack (physically, emotionally, and financially). The disgusting and unjustified police murder of George Floyd has shined a much-needed light on the way Black people are treated in America. While none of this is new to Black people, watching a video where an officer who has taken an oath to protect and serve, holds his knee on a Black man’s neck as he and bystanders beg for mercy, is jolting. It is another example of Black lives not being valued in America.
Each time we see videos like the murder of George Floyd, we as Black people are left trying to make sense out of something that makes none. We share our outrage, we protest, we raise funds for the family members left behind and we create hashtags. But after doing all of that, what we typically don’t receive is justice, and the reason is simple — Black lives don’t matter.
Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down with a shotgun while jogging — literally one of the whitest and safest activities you can do — and he was killed for no other reason than the neighborhood vigilante deciding Arbery and his Black skin didn’t belong in that neighborhood. Breonna Taylor was killed in her own home, having committed no crime at all, because the police came in guns blazing while serving a “no-knock” warrant. The murders of unarmed Black people have become so prevalent in our society that the United Nations has issued a statement calling on the United States to take “serious action” to halt police killings of unarmed Black Americans.
Unfortunately, if you are a Black person living in America, you know that the United Nations’ call will fall on deaf ears, just like many of the other calls for justice and equal rights for Black people have fallen on deaf ears many years before. Because in America, Black lives just don’t seem to matter — and they never have.
Tai Harden-Moore, JD, MBA is a dedicated diversity, equity and inclusion advocate in Portland, Org. Connect with Tai at moore-consultants.com.