Philando Castile was shot dead not long after Alton Sterling. I’m angry but not towards white people or the millions that will (predictably) justify murdering these two men. I’m angry because black people are not angry enough to make a change. Our anger is sufficient to vent on social media and perhaps protest, although deep down we know it won’t change a damn thing. But are we angry enough to sacrifice and radically alter our lives for freedom? Are we angry enough that every move we make and dollar we spend will be toward black power? If not, shut the hell up and go back to watching Hulu.
Does it hurt enough now or is it the type of pain that will subside when the next season of Empire premieres? Before we attend another rally I need to know if this pain will drive us to suffer for freedom. I need to know because if not the next rally will be the same as the others: we will be a mass of people vulnerable at any time to state violence and hoping people with power over us will be nicer. I’m sort of over that. Two men were shot dead because of a racist police state that takes black life with little fear of consequence and that demon must be expelled.
It is a police state enabled by a Congress that refuses to pass laws to protect its black citizens from state violence. That Congress is controlled by corporate dollars–dollars ultimately from us. In 2014 the Republican National Congressional and Senatorial Committees–folks not known for their support of police accountability–were the top two recipients of Bank of America’s campaign contributions. Does it hurt enough to take your money out of BOA? Speaking of banks, as we scream “Black Lives Matter” and fight police brutality, we gladly hand our money to Wells Fargo, one of the largest investors in a private prison industry determined to consume black men and women for profit. How bad does it hurt, again?
We are subject to a police state which preys upon poor black people. Disproportionately, it targets those in neighborhoods sorely in need of employment and investment. Does it hurt enough for us to invest in those neighborhoods? Does it hurt enough that we–our churches, frats, sororities, civic and social clubs–seek out entrepreneurs to support so they can begin hiring in those neighborhoods? Or are we content so long as we get a few likes on our Facebook post about racism? How far are we willing to go? How bad is the hurt? Black businesses could create untold wealth and job opportunities in our communities if we committed ourselves absolutely to their prosperity but does it hurt bad enough to seek them out? Are we angry enough to switch product brands when possible? What if we have to buy products online we are accustomed to buying at our local grocer? Does it hurt enough to do that? I suspect that for far too many, it’s not that serious.
This troubles me because the issue requires a very serious commitment. It will not resolve itself. Racism and/or indifference to black suffering is too deeply entrenched in the American fiber. When Harambee was killed by staff at the Cincinnati Zoo, many offered opinions on how the gorilla’s life could have been spared, although he posed an imminent threat to a black child. Yet when a black man or woman is killed by armed police, a predictable chorus of police apologists flood social and traditional media in an attempt to justify the murder of a human being. This. Is. America. If it doesn’t hurt bad enough to invest our time, money and sweat into black empowerment every single day, spare me the tweet. Empire will be back on soon.