Like so many of you, I'm still struggling to wrap my head around the recent massacre in Charleston, S.C. With the days of Jim Crow and church bombings behind us, never did I imagine hate would rear its chilli bowl cut head in such a grotesque fashion. Are there plenty of people who for some reason still aren't down with the brown? Yes. But did I think those few would have the audacity to gun down churchgoers in cold blood at a weekly bible study? Not quite. But, this is America and our history of violence against black precedes us.
From Trayvon to Tamir and countless others, the loss of black lives has become our very own urban Groundhog Day with a tagline that reads, "Too many lost, too soon." I can't with the headlines and quite frankly I can't with justifying why the killings of African Americans merit a national movement of tolerance. My patience is also growing thin watching the Charles Blows' of the media continue to draw parallels between the nation's response to mainstream strife and the killings of blacks to convince the masses we're not waving our race cards in vain.
We've said it before, but for some reason the message is not reaching a small yet dangerous few, so I'll say it again; BLACK LIVES MATTER. This doesn't mean the lives of the white, brown, red, blue and rainbow communities matter any less, it just means like you, we would prefer to go about our daily lives without the threat of random strangulations, racial slurs, death by police force and a surge of blackface come October.
But, for those of you who peacefully protest, still rock black hoodies, survived a routine DWB (driving while black) traffic stop, are so over the word "thug," understand "implicit bias" and nod wholeheartedly when Kanye says, "...we buy our way out of jail, but we can't buy freedom," this post is not for you. In fact, feel free to stop here and read the latest "24 Things Only A '90s Kid Will Miss" roundup.
But for those of you set on debating until Judgment Day why #BlackLivesMatter translates to #AllLivesDontMatter, have that one black or brown friend's name forever on deck in the event you're accused of being racist, really don't pay attention to all those stories about black people and the police, yet #PrayersForBoston dominated your timeline in 2013, don Apartheid-era South African accessories and think it's okay to finish this lyric, "...but she ain't messing with no broke..." and you are NOT African American, this one's for you.
So, for the umpteenth time, here are just a few reasons (besides the fact that we are human) that black lives do indeed matter.
- After 400 years of slavery, lynching, segregation and the complete whitewash of the word "swag" and all our best dance moves, haven't we suffered enough?
- Despite the aforementioned (and Rachel Dolezal), we've somehow found it in our hearts to forgive and not burn this entire country down.
- Our President is black, so at some point the majority of the country believed our lives mattered, or at least pledged to tolerate us for eight years. We still have a few months left.
- One word, Empire .
- Um, hey Baby Boomers, particularly those of you below the Mason Dixon. Nine times out of 10, it was our aunties and grandmothers that raised you, so show your surrogate parents and their offspring some respect.
- A black man invented more than 300 uses for peanuts, which means by default we laid the foundation for Nutella. You're welcome.
- Believe it or not, we're the fuel driving much of this economy. According to a recent Nielson report, African Americans are on trend to have a collective buying power of1.4. Billion by 2019.
- Another word, Beyonce.
- Regardless of the school, size or state, an HBCU marching band will always put a PWI band to shame. Always.
- Like some of you, we've fought in several wars, some necessary and others not, to defend this country so please, let us enjoy our time here.
- Jay-Z, Oprah, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, the guy who invented the traffic light, prolific educators like LeVar Burton who basically got this generation of millennials through the 2nd grade, and so many more. For the sake of my word count I'll stop here, but just know we produce freaking superstars. Oh, and we completely allow the world to celebrate originators like Elvis, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin and other blue-eyed "soul singers," when in fact their sound and music were based on black performers.
Say what you want about saggy pants, black-on-black crime, our use of the N-word and any other BS you can pull out of the air. We're a beyond awesome race that has fought and died to be here, and dang it we will not tolerate the senseless killings of our men and women so get on board or get over it. What do you have to loose besides an offbeat clap? Like the saying goes, once you go black...