2015 has quickly become the year of the police shooting. Month after month, we have heard of police shootings of young black men at the hands of police officers (I am sure there have been shootings of young black women too but they don’t seem to get as much attention). These shootings have spawned the phrase “Black Lives Matter”.
It seems while they have traded the white sheets and hoods for a black uniform and a badge, we are OK with death in the community until it is our son or daughter bleeding to death in the middle of the street at the hands of those tasked to protect and serve. We live ignorantly in this world expecting that we will be treated like every other citizen in this country. The fact is we are no closer to being an equal in society than we were in 1965, 1945, 1855 or 1805. We have allowed ourselves and our children to become exactly what our grandparents fought against. Uneducated, unsocial misfits. In an education system that is one of the worst in the world, we manage to graduate some minority children who go on to be doctors, lawyers, scientists and business executives but a majority of children never make it past junior high school. Getting an education is last on the list of priorities.
Our children can Whip and Nae-Nae but can’t tell you the significance of Selma or even where it’s located on the map. They can quote the words to the latest rap song by Drake but can’t quote the amendments of the constitution. They can quote all of the latest gadgets they want for Christmas but can’t make change in a simple financial transaction. We think it’s cute to capture a 5 year old back talking an adult and placing it on You Tube but can’t understand why authoritites approach them with a defensive attuitude. We can complain and protest but refuse to use our voices in the voting booth.
What we show to the world is what the world thinks. If the images we put out is that of people who are dangerous, uneducated, unfeeling, unimportant then the world will treat us that way. If the world sees us as uncaring and unconcerend for each other, they will not care or be concerned about us either and therefore our lives really don’t matter.
Perhaps as we enter 2016, we should think about reinventing what we show to the world. Perhaps when we start caring and respcting ourselves, then everyone will realize that our lives really do matter.