#My500Words: Day 5 of 31 "#BlackLivesMatter (as much) Pt. 2"
Part 2: #BlackLivesMatter (as much)
Yesterday an unarmed African-American male was shot and killed. The victim was ex-NFL player and USC star, Joe McKnight. Joe McKnight is black and his killer is a 54-year-old white male. It’s unfortunate but we all know how this story ends. There will be no justice because this is America. A country that touts its freedom and justice in an elitist fashion but is hypocritical in its treatment of people of color. Is it justice for all…or just-us?
I first found out about McKnight’s murder yesterday evening on Twitter and my immediate reaction is the narrative that’s already playing out. Shot by a middle aged white male as a consequence of road rage and being black on the other side of the gun barrel. Our black lives have never been valued in this country so why should we expect change under the guise of civil rights and the first African-American president?
It’s a sad situation when you are immune to the everyday injustice and violence against your own community. As I read more about the killing, I already knew the expected outcome and it came true this morning when his murderer was released without being charged…that sounds about white.
Being black in America is a threat and a death sentence. Our ancestors fought for their freedom from the chains of slavery, where we were treated no better than livestock. Families were torn apart, our history and culture purged from our minds, and left to toil in the fields. A n***a was good for one reason and he knew better not to get in the white mans way. This is still true today.
After reconstruction, the value of life of blacks had not increased since slavery. African-Americans throughout the south were still subjugated to being treated like slaves and thus giving way to the rise of Jim Crow. Being black in Jim Crow meant that your life was still worthless and you could be killed for trying to make something of it. African-American soldiers who returned after the war were lynched and threatened for wearing the same uniform that they wore overseas to fight for the freedom that they didn’t have when they returned.
Joe McKnight’s death sentence was getting in a white mans way. A white man who saw no value in Joe McKnight’s life so he took it. If Joe McKnight had been the shooter, the sad reality is that he probably would’ve faced the same fate. Shot dead on the scene by police. All the while his killer gets to walk free from the scene with his gun in hand. Being black in America means that justice doesn’t apply to you.
I’ve said this in a past post on why black lives just want to matter, as much. I would never take away my blackness as it gives me strength, the strength to persevere over adversity. When the world is stacked against you ever since birth, you’re constantly fighting a battle just to be valued. We may value our black lives but America doesn’t.
Until then, we will keep yelling #BLACKLIVESMATTER!