Recently I was watching “When They See Us" and I stopped the show numerous times, just to catch my breath. Those parents, those officers, and those black boys.
They were deemed guilty before they even entered the courtroom. The city needed a name to blame, so they chose five. Five black boys whose lives were forever changed. Time was stolen from them. They were forced to become men before they could even enjoy being children. Signing away their freedom for the chance to see their homes again. I cannot fathom being a parent to one of those boys. Wanting to have your child free but forcing them to admit guilt of a crime they neither witnessed or participated in. Antron, Yussef, Korey, Kevin, and Raymond.
They were household names, but they were not present in their own households.
See, in America, black children aren't given the same freedom to just be.
Black boys cannot afford to gamble with their lives with the card stacked up against them. Black parents can not pretend to turn a blind eye to injustices even if they did not encounter them firsthand. In this country, it's Land of the Free white people and Home of the Brave black people. This country, this nation was built on the backs of slaves and it's soil reeks of lynched flesh. “When They See Us" is a reminder for me, but an introduction for those who are not black.
This system was never meant to work for them. The tone was not innocent until proven guilty. It was saturated with politics, hidden agendas, and pure racism. It was never a fair fight when your skin is a determining factor rather than your innocence. Black men have always been targets — now their neighborhood is being treated like shooting ranges. Prisons are filled with black men for minor offenses that white corporate America is continuing to profit off of. This system, with all its broken pieces, is not built on justice or an even scale. But instead, embedded in its DNA is a history of hatred coupled with violence.
When they see us, they do not see us.