Always and Over and Over Again, the Death of Black Young Men Who Were on the Verge of Their Lives
The image of mostly white police-soldiers walking down a Missouri Street as if they are advancing on an enemy force is emblematic of the persistent deadly racism that confronts Black Americans daily, is emblematic of the wars America has been fighting and enabling for so many years now, against the black and brown bodies of the so-called "terrorist" peoples that haunt the cultural and political imagination of this nation. The color of your skin, the economic positioning of your community, at times, your gender, determine if you are the "terrorist," the disrupter of power relations as usual, your naked humanity is then targeted in the gun sights of faceless soldiers. Such power to eradicate the unwanted will not stay on the streets of Gaza, or in Iraq or Syria or along our borders with Mexico--we have fallen to the acceptability, the video game like hunting of our own citizens and those who desire to be so. We have embraced the power of the automatic weapons mighty recoil, the lust for erasure. It is our own humanity that is being blown away.
Update #1 ·
Statement of solidarity and action
Earlier this week, a group of LGBT*Q organizations signed on to a letter of solidarity with Michael Brown’s family. While we believe that letter was a good start at giving visibility to the LGBT*Q community’s support for the family and for all Black Americans, we believe that more needs to be said and more needs to be done.
As the folks at Black Girl Dangerous said, it is far too easy to get distracted when Black people are murdered. Too often, we get caught up in the “facts” of a case, and ignore the act. The fact is that a teenager was murdered because of a pervasive racist stereotype. The fact is that Michael Brown’s body was left bleeding in the street for four hours. The fact is that he is dead because our country is governed by laws that are informed by and built upon racism. The fact is that this happens every day, and that Michael Brown is not the only young Black man who has been murdered in the past week.
We must say these things because they’re true, and we must say these things because the louder we say them, the more power we create among those who seek to fight these stereotypes and unjust laws. If we gloss over the fact that policing, enforcement, and criminalization led to this murder and to the murder of thousands of others, we continue to prop up the unjust and racist structures that continue to kill our friends and family.
The Black Youth Project’s statement says far more poetically what we could ever hope to say — but that doesn’t mean that we should remain silent. As queer people, we know what it means for the government to systematically devalue our lives and for those around us to only rally to our defense when we fulfill a “model minority” stereotype. Though it is tragic that Michael Brown was gunned down by those sworn to protect our communities just before the start of his college career, we should be lifting up his memory regardless of what his future held. Simply put, there is a war on Black bodies and Black lives in this country, and we must resist any effort to gloss over that reality or excuse it with facts and figures.
#BlackLivesMatter today and every day. We stand with the Black community in this time of tragedy and commit ourselves to fighting relentlessly for liberation.
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