Can we live?
The list of stuff that black people can’t do without encountering some form of racism seems to be growing my the day. We can’t do basic things like have a good time with our friends, barbecue, or attend a pool party without some racist white person being upset by our existence. Now, apparently, black folks can’t be in our own house minding our own business without worrying about what will happen if someone barges in on them.
It used to be that sitting within our own four walls provided a safe haven that was (somewhat) insulated from the realities that come with possessing a black body in America. Now, since Botham Jean’s murder, we aren’t even guaranteed that much.
Used to be that we had to worry about racist white folks and the cops making snap judgments about whether we live or die in the streets. Used to be that the only folks that had to worry about the cops or anybody else coming into their house shooting were those who lived outside of the law. Now, law-abiding citizens have to worry what’s going to happen to them if someone (claims to) mistake our property for theirs and shoot us up.
And if being concerned about how we go about our lives ain’t enough, we also have to worry about what our loved ones have to go through after we die.
Black folks are the first ones since Lazarus to die twice.
We die our physical deaths, and then our character gets assassinated after we’re gone. Of course, this isn’t EVERY black person, but it’s enough to make an observation.
We can get killed for forgetting to use our turn signal, carrying skittles and sweet tea, or walking to our grandma’s house. If the first death wasn’t hard enough on our families, we have the misfortune of having our lives put under a microscope. Those in power pull out all the stops to throw as much shade as they possibly can to justify killing us. Black folks who get murdered, especially when it’s by the state, don’t get the privilege of resting in peace. Our murderers get treated with more dignity and respect than we do.
Botham Jean’s murder is further evidence that black people can do all the right things and still be disrespected, even in death.
We will know that black lives matter when our slain are treated better than their killers.