Why I Believe Repeatedly Seeing Black Killings Has Desensitized Many White Americans
Grief is in the air, but justice needs to be served.
May 15, 2020 at 4:29 am
There seems to be a general sense of hopelessness when it comes to the shameful killings that keep occurring in the Black community. You can't go jogging, rest peacefully in your home, have a cell phone, carry a lawful weapon or walk to the corner store. At this point Black people are tired. What can we do? It feels as though we are limited to doing everything but staying alive and well.
From Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Treyvon Martin, Philando Castro, Sean Bell, Mike Brown, Alton Sterling, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, the list unfortunately continues. We now are dealing with the rage of people all around the world mourning George Floyd's death, another name added to the list of senseless murders committed by privileged individuals who look at the killing of Black people as simple sport.
Murdering a person simply because of the color of their skin should never be normalized. But here we are in 2020 with a countless number of murders, all by people who are just in pursuit of making a statement when it comes to a Black individual. Many of these killings have been solely based off of assumptions or half truths but never hard facts. A person having an idea of an individual or thinking they were capable of something harmful is not credible enough to take a person's life.The recent riots and protests are a testament to that. Constantly seeing people’s lives being taken away can take a toll on any decent individual.
The real question is this: Is White America being desensitized by the video killings of unarmed Black men and women? When people are constantly being fed a narrative, are they realizing the effects of the heinous acts or is it normalizing them? There seems to be a popular undertone of aloofness when it pertains to the lives of Black people being gunned down on camera. Is it because it's not impacting their lives directly, or the simple fact that they, too, see no changes being made? It feels as if they are either indifferent or uninterested in what's occurring outside of their personal communities.
A white person being accused of fraud or theft would have the chance to explain themselves before an arrest was made. A white man taking a jog through his neighborhood would never be seen as a threat. A white woman sleeping peacefully in her home wouldn't have to worry about the possibility of her life being taken by an overzealous police officer.
The murders of black people around the world are triggering the Black community and sending shockwaves throughout the nation. Up until recently, most white Americans were not aware of the continuous killings occurring unless it became national news. Black America senses it's one of several things they don't care about because it doesn't relate to their lives, they are racists or it's hard to show empathy for a situation they may not fully understand. However, rather you're Black, brown or white, we all have an innate understanding of right and wrong at our core. If the shoe was on the other foot, our white counterparts would not stop fighting until justice was served. That is the same action we are taking in our community, but no headway seems to be made.
In light of the recent protest, riots and looting, it's very obvious that there is a clear divide between Black and white, and what social reform looks like on either side. While Black Americans are putting their lives on the line, the focus seems to remain on the lotted or burned properties that can be rebuilt with insurance money. The major difference here is that a building can be rebuilt; a life that is taken away can not return.
We feel as though the only reason attention is being bought to these murders is because of social media and its infatuation with "trauma porn." To some extent, it does help bring awareness to the injustices Black people are experiencing, but on another note, we've reached our limit on never seeing people held accountable for their actions, leaving us with a feeling of limbo and uncertainty.
The struggle between white people combating "Black Lives Matter" with "All Lives Matter" shows that there's a clear lack of understanding, care and empathy when it relates to having a voice and a right to stand up for injustices that affect an entire culture. If all lives matter, then why are the heinous videos always of Black people losing their lives? Is there no respect or common decency when it comes to Black lives? If we are all equal, then why is it OK for others to live their lives freely without worry of the death penalty forced upon them in a firing squad manner?
Desensitization has permeated the white community, and most may not even realize it because it doesn't affect their day-to-day process of life itself. What they digest and what we digest in the Black community are two different pills we swallow, and until we all get a diagnosis that is just and fair across the board, our realities will never look the same.
In the Black community we are experiencing more trauma, anger, fear and outrage each time we view these horrific killings, which has resulted in people taking matters in their own hands through protests and riots. Unfortunately, justice continues to not be served every time a murder occurs, and the cycle of trigger and fear repeats itself. Similar to what's been prevalent in this nation since the days of slavery, the killings we are forced to relive because of social media/video footage at our disposal, truly sheds the light on the repeated pattern of racism and oppression by fear. This is something that has always been around.
The question here isn't about what we are experiencing in the Black community, because it's obvious we're triggered. We are being forced into the conditioning of accepting murder from the opposite ethnicity who seems to never be held accountable for their actions. It creates high tensions, and an even larger racial gap, all while invoking fear into our hearts. The silence or lack of concern on the behalf of white America makes it apparent that there's a clear divide, and the justice system is not allocating their punishment or advice in a similar fashion when it comes to non-POCs. What would it take for America to unite and show support for the killings of Black Americans losing their lives? The same way support is shown for events that happen outside of our own country, such as the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral. We have terrorist attacks occurring right here in America, yet no tears and outrage are spread for the innocent lives taken. Tear gas, pepper spray and attacks are occurring on peaceful protesters who just want to be heard. Free speech seems to be exercised regularly when it has to do with hateful or white privileged matters that only serve certain individuals, such as #OpenAmericaNow.
One thing is certain: Black America has become desensitized to something, too — and that's the outcome of justice for the victims and their families. The lack of concern is alarming from white America, but what's even more alarming is the lack of change we see.
We have to ask ourselves the hard question of how this affects us all as a society and what actions need to be taken to make a true impact for social reform. We can't ask for justice and equality from people who don't see the value in our lives. What we can do is hold our justice system accountable until true justice is served.