There's No You Or Me, Only An Us
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Politics and Activism

There's No You Or Me, Only An Us

We are one nation.

There's No You Or Me, Only An Us
Daily Mail

I can imagine--and I hope--that I am not the only person grieving due to the chaos that has taken place within our society over the past few days. Facebook has become a platform for many to express their views, racist or progressive. So, on the day of Alton Sterling's death, I scrolled through multiple comments, some of which were extremely upsetting. I believe that I am fortunate to have friends who understand the statement #BlackLivesMatter, but was disappointed to see that they could not say the same. Instead, they'd received mixed comments with some of their "friends" thanking them for acknowledging the hatred and unnecessary actions that were taken leading up to Alton Sterling's murder, whereas others would continue to mention his criminal record and question the purpose of "bringing race into this," obviously failing to understand that police brutality is called police brutality because the officer or officers behave in a manner that is violent, uncalled for and purposefully hateful.

The next day, I wake up to learn that another black man has been killed by a white police officer in front of his girlfriend and four-year-old daughter. Again, my heart aches. In this case, however, the topic of race cannot be avoided because not only did Philando Castile not have a criminal background, but he also informed the officer that he had a licensed gun and was reaching for his identification, as he was asked to do, before he was shot four times. When you're only a few inches from a person, it only takes one shot to throw them off.

I am outraged because I realize that people who are blind to #BlackLivesMatter and continue to deny the existence of racist acts against blacks in America will only argue that the cop did what he saw fit to protect his own life. But here's the thing: everyone knows that becoming a police officer is a dangerous, but noble, profession. It calls for a person to risk their lives for the safety of others. But in cases of police brutality, there is a whole race of people who aren't being protected by this nations protective services or judicial system and that is a serious problem.

When it comes to topics circulating around #BlackLivesMatter, there are so many people that come to mind and cause me worry to my core. These are the same people who, secretly (because they have no idea what their existence means to me), encourage me to speak out on matters like this. These are the same people who reassure me that explaining to my friend whose parent's are police officers that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is not meant to say that all cops are bad or that the lives of people of other race's don't matter, is important and necessary rather that friend is offended or not. And these are only two of those people:

This is a picture of my little cousin Nigel. He is turning seven years old this summer and has a big personality and a love for music.

And this is a picture (or three) of my two-year-old cousin, Lennox. As you can see, he loves to smile. If he sees a camera, whether you say cheese or not, he'll shine his pearly whites. He is the only boy in the younger generation to carry on my family's last name.

Besides these two, I have three other male cousins who are closer in age to me and I love each of them dearly. My love, however, won't protect them from the corruption and hatred that exists within our world. And the fact that one of them is college educated, extremely funny and caring and has huge aspirations won't change how he is viewed by others externally. The fact that my other cousin is heading to college in the fall and was just blessed with a little sister a few months ago, won't matter if he's ever pulled over or in the wrong place at the wrong time.

You see, my cousins are already victims, and have been since the day they were born. I learned in seventh grade that there is automatically one strike against me because I am a woman, meaning, my value and abilities AKA gender privilege will be lessened because of the gender that I was born into. Then, I was informed that there is another strike against me because I am an African American. Whether I worked my ass off or not, my achievements and success won't be of as much value to society because I probably earned it out of pity/for being a minority. And if I am outraged and decide to speak up about a pressing issue, I will only be feeding into the stereotype of an angry black woman. Finally, there was a strike that I learned of that didn't apply to me and that is being a black man in America. If you're an educated black male in America you are seen as just that, or, white washed and "not black enough," (same applies to women). If you decided to take the other route because opportunity did not present itself as much as it may have in another person's life, you are ghetto, disruptive, and a waste of space within this society; but the talks of stereotypes is for another article on another day.

No matter how old those two little boys pictured above grow to be, I'll always see them as my sweet, innocent little cousins whose current goals should be to laugh as often as possible and to live carefree. However, knowing that I live in a country where a 12-year-old boy is shot and killed by a police officer while he is in the park makes me fear for their lives, and my own.

So, for anyone who doesn't understand the meaning behind #BlackLivesMatter, let me set it straight. Yes, we understand that all lives matter, but the black ones are the ones who are still waiting for their independence day after the rest of the nation celebrated theirs on the 4th of July. The black lives are the ones that are constantly being put down, cheated and oppressed, then and now. The black lives are the ones that have lost 136 of its people due to police brutality. The black lives are the ones who are respected most when it comes to the usage of our culture or bodies for entertainment or to make money. The black lives are the ones who are wearing the invisible chains and handcuffs... at least for some they are invisible. The black lives are the ones who are living in fear each and every day, minute by minute, but have no way to protect ourselves without getting a bullet plunged into our bodies.

And in saying this, #BlackLivesMatter does not mean that there are sides to be chosen. The heartache that I experienced in learning about the killing of five police officers is equivalent to the heartache that I experienced when I heard about the murder or Alton and Philando. As the quote goes, "Injustice against one is injustice against all," or "Injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere" (Martin Luther King).

Therefore, if you are part of the group of people who believes that a side must be picked or who continue to argue against #BlackLivesMatter with any other statement, then you are contributing to the problem. We are supposed to "Stand one nation, under God." Not separate nations. We do not live in a black and white world either and it is important to acknowledge injustice against any person. However, if you've already been served your five-course meal and have the nerve to sit at the table and respond that "All people deserve food" when I state that "I deserve food" and am sitting there with an empty stomach, then you can excuse yourself from this table.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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