Another Hashtag

I watched two black men get murdered in cold blood these past couple of days by the very people who swore to protect them.

I watched Alton Sterling get pinned to the ground by two police officers. One grabbed his gun, pointed it at him, and pulled the trigger. All this over some CDs being sold in front of a music store.

I watched Philando Castile bleed to death in a car with his girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter, after being shot four times. All this over a tail light.

The phenomenon of individuals, particularly black people, being murdered by the folks who swore an oath to protect them is hardly new. We don’t need to revisit the disgustingly long list of the lives we lost in the past year alone. But… this has to stop, and I don’t know what to do about it.

As a black man in America, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my very existence is an act of defiance that is punishable by death. The destruction of black bodies is a salaried position, one that we, ironically enough, pay with our own tax dollars. And when we die, our killers are met with… joy and celebration. Individuals smile and taunt us at the thought of the streets running red with our blood. I’m reminded of past lynchings and how they were treated like public family outings by white America; children smiling in photos with a mangled black body hanging from the trees behind them.

Alton Sterling

“This is a post-racial society!”

We can watch the execution of a man pinned on the ground, or a watch a man get shot for grabbing his wallet like the officer told him to, and still not get justice for their families. We still have people jumping through hoops to minimize our pain and justify our deaths.

“It’s not about race!” Even though, statistically, black males are targeted and profiled at a much higher rate than their white counterparts.

“What about black on black crime!” Even though, statistically, there is no difference in the amount of crime committed within black communities compared to the crimes committed in white, Asian, Latino etc. communities. The concept of “black on black crime” is only a standard placed on the black community, even though the crimes black people commit against each other are not, contrary to popular belief, somehow magically more common and extensive compared to other racial groups who live in the same community.

“But they have criminal records! Look they even stole candy in the past!” But they weren’t targeted because of their previous criminal history.

I’m a college educated black man with a clean record and a podcast. I create art, and I write. None of this will save me. A cop can shoot me dead, and none of my credentials will matter. People will find a way to justify my death, citing a fight I got into in the third grade, or the fact that I use profanity, or some other bullshit I can’t even remember. As long as I’m black and breathing, I’m a potential target. This system was always meant to fail me, my brothers, and my sisters.

Philando Castile

And I’m struggling to figure out what comes next. We can protest and donate. We can scream and cry. We can sign petitions and write letters, but when will it actually make a difference? How long until the world is finally convinced that black lives matter too?

History has taught us that simply asking for rights doesn’t work. We have to take them. But how do we do that in a world waiting for an excuse to destroy us?

I’m just tired. I’m sad. I’m scared. And I’m angry. Every day, I hope and pray I don’t wind up another hashtag.

You can donate to the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Author: Mike Tré

Mike is the co-creator of BLKBOARD who’s a creative professional and writer with an interest in Superheroes, literature, gaming, politics, food, and anything else he can think of at the given moment.

  • Captain Kirk

    Powerful post. Only once the entire police institution can be either torn down or built from the ground up can law enforcement change. Changing the racism that is entrenched within society and white privilege will be the harder task though I suspect.