#SamDubose, #SandraBland, #EricGardner, #TrayvonMartin, #JordanDavis, #MikeBrown, and #Freddiegray
What do all of these names have in common, other than the fact that they were all unarmed and killed by white assailants? All those hashtags bring to your attention and represent senseless murders of real life human beings.
The cause of their deaths was instigated by an eager or overzealous person that, I believe, was intimidated and wanted to exert their authority on an unsuspecting victim – by escalating a simple misunderstanding to a lethal encounter in 0 to 60.
Some died for something as simple as selling loose cigarettes, sitting in the backseat of a car in a parking lot playing loud music, or walking through their father’s neighborhood and not having sense enough to have an umbrella, instead of wearing hoodie. While I don’t need to go in depth, because by now we are all well versed in the events that lead to their deaths, again what stands out the most to me, other than their deaths, is that they all became hashtags.
This is not to make light of their deaths, but it is because of their deaths some of us have become activists and more militant. Movements such as #handsupdon’tshoot and #blacklivesmatter, with the latter on going and now having chapters in the U.S., Canada, and Ghana, were established to combat systematic racism, the mass incarceration of African-Americans, and again police brutality. Also because of their deaths, other races started to take notice of the racial profiling and police brutality that affects the African American community every day.
Which leads me to this question, why do [insert any hashtag representing murdered black Americans] have to die in order for others to know that black lives – that my life matters? Why does it take a tragedy for another race to think of me or people that look like me, as an equal, rather than a threat? And I also want to know — just what can I do not become a hashtag?
In each instance described above, it seemed like the only “crime” committed was simply just being, if you think about it, they weren’t doing anything that deserved their lives being taken; I mean, either they were minding their own business in the back seat of a car, walking or they weren’t accommodating enough to a police office, which isn’t against the law.
So again, what can I do to not become a hashtag? I refuse to wake up each day, thinking of ways to appease others, whether they are someone I pass while shopping or a police officer that stops me for nothing other than a wearing a t-shirt. just so that I don’t end up being another name added to the long list of hashtags.
If I’m not allowed to live my life unimpeded without having to worry about whether or not this is the day that I may die because of a misunderstanding than what can I do to ensure my survival?
What say ye? Is their anything that we can do, with the hopes of not ending up being a homicide victim? Or is it a crap shoot?
Talk to me, I’ll talk back.