When will black lives actually matter?

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Terence Crutcher

Keith Lamont Scott.

You know their names because they’ve become the latest hashtags in the American war on police brutality.

The United States has become a country where it’s legal to kill African Americans.

In fact, 36 unarmed black men and women have died by the hands of the police this year alone, according to the Guardian.

Our nation keeps reacting to these stories. We keep asking what’s next, what will happen and how can we solve this issue?

But we’re not asking the most important question: When will black lives actually matter?

For starters, police officers need to stop with the stereotype of an African American man being “a bad dude” as one suggested in the video of Crutcher’s death. We live in a society where people feel they should fear people of color. Car doors lock when a black man walks by. They cross the street. Sometimes we will walk the in opposite direction.

Has fear of the black man heightened our sensitivities too much?

Consider Officer Betty Shelby, who shot Crutcher, said she feared for her life when faced with the 40-year old black community college student.

Police officers are supposed to protect our communities but how can they do that if they know nothing about the people who live in them?

How do you get them to see past color and stereotypes? Officers need to be more involved in the community not just watching out for crime.

They should be organizing neighborhood activities.

Delta College has Coffee with a Cop. Police officers need meet and greets just to understand who lives in the communities they are trying to protect.

But what can black people do?

“We need to get our black men back and get educated. We need to get our acts together,” said student Dominique Thompson.

“They all want to post on Facebook about how we need to do something different but they’re not actually getting up and doing it. That’s the hard part, getting up and actually doing it. They [want to] post on Facebook, Twitter put stuff on Instagram but they won’t get up and actually protest.”

But is protest the answer?

Even with the protesting or athletes taking a knee during the National Anthem the message that African Americans are under attack still hasn’t been taken seriously.

Our people are dying.

Rallies pop up when another person is shot. But the conversation doesn’t last, though.
We collectively forget.
And then the next one happens.

Movements have been started, videos have been released but what real change has been made? What policies have gone into effect since the start of this war in Ferguson, Missouri back in 2014?

We have no leader in this movement. Where’s our Martin Luther King Jr.? Where’s the next Rosa Parks? Who is going to be the voice that breaks through?

And how many more people have to die for that voice to be heard? Sure we have body cameras now but they still aren’t giving us the full story.

In fact as of Oct.1 a new state law in North Carolina has put a block on the release of police videos to the public. This is a step back.

“I think other states might follow that only because when you release video such as that [Crutcher] it only gets people stirred up and that’s when riots start to happen,” said Thompson.

As an African American I fear for my people’s lives.

It’s not right that I have to tell my younger brother he can’t wear his coat with the hood on because someone thinks he looks suspicious when it’s cold outside.

Or that my nephew can’t play with his toy gun outside because it can be seen as a deadly weapon in his hands.

We have been targeted ever since the birth of this nation. This is not new. But it’s becoming the new norm

Will it ever actually end?
Will we ever get to the point where we have more answers than we have questions in the face of another black person’s death?