Three women declared #BlackLivesMatter! and spearheaded a movement to bring awareness to the deaths of black men, women and children at the hands of police officers. Thanks their efforts and those of many other committed activists, there has been increased awareness of police brutality, that disproportionately claims the lives of Black people. Even though, statistically speaking, there has been no real increase in such incidences over the past few years, many cases have gained national attention and forced the media to contend with the idea that racism may indeed fuel such violent interactions between police and Black people.
And funny enough, other races are mad about it.
Articles like this one titled “5 Latinos Killed By Cops This Week– And Media Ignored it” and The Washington Post’s “An ‘unarmed’ white teen was shot dead by police. His family asks: Where is the outrage?” demonstrate the outrage at Black successful mobilization against police brutality.
In The Washington Post article, the lawyer for the family spoke to this indignation:
“It’s sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen,” Bland told The Washington Post this week. “The hypocrisy that has been shown toward this is really disconcerting.”
Let’s get a few things straight. The only hypocrisy displayed by the media and government officials is in their willingness to let bad cops get off for their crimes against American citizens. Many bad cops have gotten away with murdering men, women and children from all kinds of different backgrounds, and that fact is indisputable. The only reason why the media may now be talking about the deaths of Black people, and not other races, is because 1. Black people are more likely to be brutalized– which isn’t even the real big reason– and MOST importantly: BECAUSE BLACK WOMEN PUT IN THE WORK TO BRING AWARENESS.
Prior to #BlackLivesMatter!, Black lives were being buried in an avalanche of injustice, taken on a whim by police, with no real hope for recourse or justice being served. Some cases gained media attention, but it was really the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman and the subsequent “not guilty” verdict that was reached in the wake of the murder, that sparked a new wave of conversations surrounding the murder of unarmed Black people perceived as criminals. Though America had a problem with it’s police using deadly force against unarmed citizens, unarmed black people were killed at five times the rate as unarmed Whites. So a group of Black women started to organize, and the rest is history.
Hilariously, instead of putting in the work themselves, other groups decide it is easier and more politically expedient to hijack this movement and discredit its achievements. As if the media or government officials would’ve ever given a damn about another Black loss of life, if protesters and activist didn’t catapult the conversation onto the national stage by organizing and demanding justice. Now everybody want equal treatment– the same media coverage as black people– without any of the work?
Instead of sitting around whining and complaining like children that “those people over there are getting more attention for their cause”, why don’t these bootstrapping Americans pull themselves up by their bootstrap and organize for their own. Initiate movements to specifically address the brutalization of Latinos, Whites, Asians, Native Americans or any other group by police. And then build alliances. And don’t call those movements “White Lives Matter!” or “Latino Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter!”. Don’t hijack the efforts of Black women to promote another cause. Put in the damn work.
And come at Black people when you have organized and are ready to create alliances to combat police brutality.