It seems to me the Black Community has earned a (not-so) “new” nickname in America: “THE HUNTED.” The world is watching as the the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” is once again on center stage for it's “Peace Officers” executing innocent lives... all of whom just happen to have brown African skin.
The globe stands by and watches while our brothers and sisters are hunted down like animals in the street.
“Land of the Free” for whom, exactly?! Not us, people of color. Certainly not 'us', the black community. But see, this is not new.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...” The great and fearless words of the Declaration of Independence never were intended for everyone. At the time of it's writing, scores of extraordinary African people, having been forcibly and violently removed from their homes and land, were brutally enslaved on the very same soil occupied by the hands that scripted those words... That they were never meant to apply to all of us was simply understood at the time of writing.
This land where “all are [supposedly] created equal...” is the land where white power decides who is worthy to be human enough to be equal. Brown skin descended from African soil was never that.
Did you know that it was written into our political system that black people were only counted as three-fifths of a person? The “Three-fifths Compromise,” empowered a state to count three fifths of each Black person in determining political representation in the House. (Read more here). And, make no mistake, the fact that they were counted at all was purely for the South to get a bolstered influence in the House of Representatives... The North argued they were property and should not be counted as people at all. So they compromised with three-fifths of each person. This is fact, not speculation. See Historic U.S. Cases 1690-1993: An Encyclopedia New York.
Now here's a real irony: We are just three days away from the anniversary of the Three-fifths Compromise enactment. July 12, 1787. That is exactly 229 years ago on this coming Tuesday. And this 'compromise' was not challenged again until 1856, that's 70 years.
You may argue that was 229 years ago, and the values back then are not a factor in the great United States of America now finding itself on the brink of Civil War. I must emphatically state, you are grossly mistaken. The legacy of “ownership” over black lives is being paraded across our T.V. screens day in and day out today, in 2016. The state can determine when execution is appropriate in response to a broken tail light. Absolute foolishness. The throngs of us arguing that these responses are reasonable or in any way understandable are only bolstering the presumption of “ownership” over black lives. Use all the law enforcement procedural jargon you want to, but nothing can justify the biased brutality against our brothers and sisters.
Jesse Williams said, “What we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day.” Yet they fail to do so in the black community. People end up dead. Again. And Again. And again. Because the belief system nursing the expendability of black lives is not bothered by such murders, nor is the judicial system.
The fearless, flagrant killing of black lives in broad daylight, being broadcast across our screens for the world to see is only the most obvious way this sense of ownership currently manifests. It so makes up the very foundations of our society that many of us cannot even recognize it. Butchered brown bodies are put on display as a trophy for the world to see white supremacist ideology is alive and well at the highest locus of power in our slumbering country.
America has always had a twisted past time, it is not new: gawking at the piteous mangled brown corpses sprawled across the pavement while their innards are splattered for the wide-eyed world to behold. It has become the most horrific peep show to which we have all been brazenly invited.
It is not new. It is the modern day lynching of the Civil Rights era... and the age-old public degradation of slaves purely for sport... and the pompous removal of human beings from their own land for the purpose of enslavement. It has been there from the beginning of this country. And it all comes from a presumed ownership over black lives.
As long as we do little or nothing of consequence to combat and reverse this travesty, we are participating in that attitude of ownership. We are casually holding it in place, not noticing our own hands are soaked with the blood of the broken.
Have we considered that the only reason there is currently an outcry is because the brutality is now being filmed and publicized through social media? Do we think this kind of brutality began only with the onset of camera phones?
It is not new! It has been going on all along, and the black community has tried to tell us... Tried express the anguish and outrage. And we just haven't listened. Convinced that our experiences of the U.S are reflective of everyone's reality, their claims are ridiculed. More confounding is this: Even the video footage is not enough, we still don't believe them! We make excuses for the officers, we gawk at how the victim must have been at fault. We put their character on trial, as if that gives credence to an open assassination in the “Land of the Free.” Or my personal favorite, “He shouldn't have run! Why did he run?” Well, homie, if you had been watching for months, years, even generations, people who look just like you being publicly, shamelessly executed, you'd run, too. There's something called the “fight or flight” response to perceived life-threatening danger... Look it up.
If you've never known the horror of being assaulted by a police officer yourself, than you will never know what that terror feels like. I have. It leaves deep scars and unspeakable memory of terror...
What you are only seeing in recent years on video footage has been going on all along.
It. Is not. New. It's only new to us.
It is merely a new manifestation of the dark underbelly of America that has been there since the dawn of its birth. The only way a country like the U.S could stand to allow such brutality to continue on its own soil, is if black people were considered only slightly human... like maybe three-fifths, to be exact. Only then can we be this OK with their massacre. They never were intended to be equal members of society. They always were only a piece of a human. Only a fraction of a soul. So brutalizing them doesn't really touch the conscience of our nation.
Time marches on and that hasn't changed.
Well let me be straight, here. This situation we find ourselves in, teetering precariously between genocide and Civil War, it was always coming. It. Was. Always. Coming.
It was only inevitable that the course of history would eventually hit a tipping point. Guess what?
They may be the “The Hunted” right now.
But THE HUNTED ARE RISING.
And there's a remnant rising with them.
**For a great article on things you can do to end police brutality, please click here.**