I am beginning to believe that black lives truly have no existence or importance within mainstream America. This breaks my heart.
I slept a total of two hours last night, stewing, thinking and growing angry at the lack of coverage over a terrorist act carried out in Charleston, South Carolina. Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old Army vet and known white supremacist, went into a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Calhoun Street, a historically recognized church founded by black Americans decades ago. Roof shot randomly at the people in the study group, taking nine lives.
Twitter was flooded with updates, and Facebook status updates expressed sadness and hurt, while cable and major news outlets seemed to wait hours to address this tragedy. I am upset because I feel like the civil rights movement is at its weakest. America keeps showing us that they don’t care about covering black lives unless it’s to feed mass attention to a sick woman with a black infatuation. I am beyond angry. This is an outright slap to the face. Every week, I see how America really feels about people who look like me, and I am tired of this.
My hands are shaking. My mind is racing. I am crying in a conference room at work and drained. The Charleston shooting on top of everything else is too much. Constant reminders of racial injustice brings me to the stories my grandmother would tell me about during her time within the civil rights movement. Every other day, she dealt with stories on the murder of innocent lives through lynchings, arsons, Jim Crow laws and shootings due to the color of their skin.
As a biracial woman growing up in Alabama, who spent several years in North and South Carolina, she had to toe two lines of judgment and yet still try to exist and live as a human being. She used to state that “being black is the best and worst thing that you’ll ever know. People will judge you, try to stop you and eliminate you just because you are you.”
I would think that it should be human nature to care and have empathy for those less fortunate. It is common concern to ask what can be done to better the livelihoods of those who need justice. This isn’t about saving black people or giving preference over one group of people versus the other. However, something is clearly wrong. This country has serious impactful issues amongst its neglect of the poor, the middle class, religious indifference, ethnic stereotyping, disenfranchisement of women and backward policies on child welfare. Most of these items are still steeped in institutional racism.
With the civil rights movement being under 70 years old, reflecting the life of one generation, we should be further ahead in how we treat each other. Racial harmony feels as if it is taking steps back. For almost a week, mainstream America took on the role of discussing made-up terms such as “transracial identity” meanwhile a 12-year-old black girl was assaulted by a white officer and Haitians are being forced into leaving various Caribbean nations to live in modern-day internment camps.
If you are angry about the lack of care and concern within your community when it comes to injustice, you can do something about it. If you are afraid or worried about what people think, I truly believe in the old adage of “this could and more than likely can happen to you.” Something needs to be done. Everyone should be disgusted. Alliances are needed, and solutions must be considered. This country and its citizens are able to repair the problems, miscommunications and ignorance toward racial equality. Waiting and ignoring the matter will not resolve hundreds of years ignorance toward one another.