Now, I’m going to keep this post brief because I’m sure you can Google a million and one blog posts, articles and think pieces that explain the same thing. I’m only jumping into the fray because there are a number of idiots who still don’t seem to get the message. For those thick-skulled individuals, I’d like to reiterate the same argument anyone with a brain should understand: Black Lives Matter does NOT equal All Lives Don’t Matter. In actuality, as a people, we’re simply fighting for our lives to mean as much as anyone else’s.
Given the nature of this article, let me start by giving some background about myself. I’m a 30-year-old Black male with an engineering degree from a Top 25 university, a corporate job with a Fortune 500 company and a loving family. If you took one look at my résumé, you’d probably invite me over to your house to meet your mother and your sister. That’s right, I’m that awesome, son. However; I’m also from the Bronx, NY, meaning I’ve had more negative interactions with the police than I’d like to recollect.
My first real experience with the Boys in Blue came when I was 10-years-old. As I was leaving school, I saw two older kids fighting each other right outside the basketball courts. Now, as I’m sure you can imagine, a crowd gathered around in a circle to see who was inevitably about to catch that L. Side bar, for my linguistically-challenged readers, an “L” means a loss. In any case, under the usual circumstances, I would have been one of the many spectators. However; I’d previously gotten in trouble with my mother for not getting in from school in a timely enough fashion. With that being said, I decided to scurry home so I could avoid any possible punishment. Along my pathway, I saw a parked cop car with two officers sitting inside. As I walked past the car, I happened to make eye contact with the officer residing in the driver’s seat. No less than five seconds later, both officers got out of the car, yanked my book bag off, threw me up against the trunk of the car and asked me “who the fuck was I looking at?” Now, I was thoroughly confused because I couldn’t understand why two grown men would think it was just to physically assault a child. For about a week, I wondered what I did wrong and why I was targeted in such a manner.
This is a reality for countless minorities across this country. There’s a natural hostility towards law enforcement because a large number of encounters we have with police have an unnecessary air of aggression to them. I’m not even going to speak about the number of times I’ve been stopped thanks to the ridiculous Stop-And-Frisk law here in New York City. Before continuing, I want everyone to go back and re-read the second paragraph. Even with all of my accomplishments, there always seems to be enough “reasonable suspicion” for police to stop me.
For anyone who can’t relate to the anecdotes I’m sharing, telling minorities that police misconduct isn’t real is an unbelievable slap in the face. Despite the fact all of my troubles with the law can be whittled down to traffic violations, a sense of panic overtakes me anytime I come in contact with the police. Black people are always told to “comply with the law” in order to avoid any potential issues. However; even during these scenarios, we’re still treated as culprits. Despite being a licensed gun carrier and even taking gun safety training, Philando Castile still met his end on the opposite side of a cop’s gun. We’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t, damned if we speak, damned if we breathe and damned if we think.
In the end, the point behind Black Lives Matter is to prove that All Lives Matter. As soon as minorities in this country are treated the same way as every other citizen, we can successfully remove this needless division. Ultimately, that’s all we really want. Good day.