Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Don't Be Waiting

“We’re not saying Black lives are more important than other lives, or that other lives are not criminalized and oppressed in various ways. We remain in active solidarity with all oppressed people who are fighting for their liberation, and we know that our destinies are intertwined. Given the disproportionate impact state violence has on Black lives, we understand that when Black people in this country get free, the benefits will be wide reaching and transformative for society as a whole. When Black people get free, everybody gets free."

             

In regards to the provided quote, not only do I concur with the arguments stated, but I also champion them. In particular, the line, "When Black people get free, everybody gets free.", struck something within me. It was a reminder that blacks, indeed, were and still are the most hated racial group in America. Now, one could argue that Jewish or Latinos have also suffered under the hands of the white man, however, while their historical and present experience in America would not be described as endearing, it is not comparable to the unique condition that has been a constant in the African American community.
              

Likewise, the excerpt, "We’re not saying Black lives are more important than other lives...", battles against the foremost form of ignorance and accusation which plagues the Black Lives Matter Movement: the claim black lives are supposedly superior to others in this nation. It begs the question, if that were so then why would cities around the country be protesting police brutality against blacks? If black lives are superior, then wouldn't the police brutality that occurs  pertain to the officers against the notion that black lives are superior, rather than the authorities who devalue black lives?
             

 Equally as important as the quote are the statistics depicted. Although all of the information is troubling, the one that saddened me the most was in relation to the preschoolers. 42 percent of preschoolers suspended were black, even though they only made up 18 percent of preschools in over 90,000 schools surveyed. Perhaps it saddened me because it unveiled my fear that if others were to read the same fact, it would be ingrained in them that blacks are more prone to misbehaving, and that it was something that was demonstrated in blacks even as children. Another reality I dare one to answer is: why is it that African American youth are 9 times more likely than white youth to be sentenced as adults for the same crime? Don't assert to me that,  "Maybe he or she has committed a crime before.", because then you would only be stereotyping. Instead why not question if in fact it was the white person who has a criminal record, yet, still manages to serve a lesser sentence than the black- who has either committed his or her first offense, or, also possesses a criminal record.
             

In brief, the quote and the statistics are personal because it is a reflection of me. Not only am I black, but I'm also a woman, which is a whole other issue in itself. However, it does not take away that I'm a black woman in America who is not waiting but rather expecting both the racism and sexism which comes with the title, "Being a black woman in America." Regardless, the Black Lives Matter Movement is missing one key component in its quest for black liberation: resolving black-on-black conflict. Not gang violence, if that is what you believe I'm referring to, but rather, for example: the hierarchy of colorism in the Black American community, black American being, but not exclusive, the posterity of African slaves. How many of us know the terms: light-skinned, brown-skinned, dark-skinned, yellow-bone, red-bone, tar-baby, blackie ? I myself did not know these terms until recently, being that where I live, where I school, and who I associate with are in fact, white. So my parting statement to the Black Movement is, you must help yourself before you help others.




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