Once I saw a film about a man, a black man, who had money, respect and a happy family. He lived as if the world didn’t scold him. And what did he receive in turn for his freed life? Twelve years of bondage. Lied to, spit on, stripped of his identity, and beaten. His neck kissed the thread of a noose but he survived. Why did this happen? Because he lived too loud. I never thought I’d be seeing this similar scenario in 2016. Yet again, another black man dies, not because of gang violence or drugs, not because of cancer or other incurable diseases, not because of a freak accident or old age; but caused by men who were supposed to be protectors of citizens, law practitioners. Alton Sterling was murdered by police officers. Why?
Because he was a black man in America.
Definitely not the same story as Solomon Northup however the similarities lies within the skin. Sterling and Northup had the same pigment and lived loud enough that jealously caught up. The audacity of my comparison is quite obvious. And we Americans believe that slavery ended years ago. It only ended physically but for many of us, black and white, slavery goes on, internally: mentally. And inevitably, history repeats itself.
Some African Americans cling to the slave mentality and some of us don’t even know it. And whites, some of them cling to the slave mentality as well, without knowing it. Of course there is grace for that but when does it end? The United States has come a long way. We are the first in technological advancements, probably next to Asian countries. However America is known for being a world power, you know, “land of the free; home of the brave”? Yet blacks are still struggling to be free. The progress is within the process, but who’s begun it? – The process of releasing each other from the hurt and nastiness that slavery left us.
How much longer must we go on like this?
Baton Rouge, LA; Sanford, FL; Money, Mississippi; Ferguson, Missouri; and countless others cities could have easily been a Portsmouth, Virginia; Newport News, Va; or Norfolk, Va.
And the only time injustices like these get heard is when it happens. Its been happening way before now. As I said, history repeats itself.
So now what? What do we do with this information? Do we just sit back and let it happen again? Do we relay on government officials to change things? Do we wait on law enforcement to grow something other than hate inside for black people?
Let me first say that the individuals who have been responsible for the negligent deaths of black men in America, are NOT all the same. However it is only a reflection of what the true America looks like. Racism is not over. Discrimination is not dead.
But for those of us who’s heart is burning for revenge or disappointment, shock or pain… We must redirect our aim to the object of inclusion. Both black and white, Latino and Mexican, European and Asian, we must be One.