” I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”
This is an excerpt from the speech given by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King jnr. in 1963 that symbolized a wake in the sounds of victory over racism and bondage of Black people in America. This was not the only move in the fight for equal rights as so many others stood up to plead and protest for their humanly deserving civil rights.
Years later Nelson Mandela started another fight against Racism and for the freedom of South Africa’s black and colored population from oppression imposed by the minority government; even to the point of being imprisoned for 27 years.
While we commend them and our many heroes who risked their freedom and ultimately their lives to unwaveringly challenge the ill fate that was befalling their brothers; we must reflect on the lasting effects they have had on the new generation.
Fast forward till today, even with the presence of a Black President of the United States, and racism is still lurking around every corner, clothed under pretence. Fortunately for us, social media has made them things of the open; however, it has not nearly stopped it. It has become an unconscious action in the mind of some whites who were born into it and see themselves as superior or, even worse, see blacks as vicious animals. The police have resulted to extrajudicial killings of blacks, and Africans abroad are not exempted.
#BlackLivesMatter is a campaign that was given birth to in the wake of Black racism. It was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer was acquitted for his crime and the dead 17-year old was placed on trial for his own murder. The movement is an online/ social media forum that seeks to expand the awareness of the Black community and rebuild the Black liberation movement. It focuses on issues regarding state violence, genocide, racial profiling, police brutality and related matters. Although, a number of people have attempted to restructure ‘Black Lives Matter’ to ‘All lives Matter’; the essence of the movement is to challenge the inequality in the system.
In the light of this, there have been protests, rallies and demonstrations that have been made to trend on social media. Slogans like ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ and ‘Is my son next?’ have been widely used during the demonstrations. What I find disturbing is that even in the wake of more awareness and the protests and wars against the dehumanization of African Americans; has there been a reduction or rather an increase in racism? Although, the campaign started in 2012 we are still facing these ills in 2016. Just this month we have had to deal with the cases of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and only God knows how many others.
The campaign has chosen to somewhat neglect the methods of silent protests proffered by Martin Luther King jnr. and have devised supposedly better and more effective tactics that incorporate a little violence here and there. Now it is not just a case of raising our voices or not as we honestly cannot choose to keep quiet. It is not a case of fighting evil with evil; neither is it a case of what political slogan best describes the situation- #BLM or #ALM. The question is- are we fighting for a cause that cannot truly be won?
What more needs to be done to put an end to the discrimination of colored folks? Do the blacks need to tender a referendum of their own or should they continue to do the same things over and again with better slogans demanding for their basic right to freedom and existence? Before we create physical war between the Whites and the Blacks or Negros, we need to understand that this is not a case of premeditated wickedness but one of a degraded mindset. The social distance that places the blacks in Queens and the Whites miles apart is the same mentality that keeps the average White child away from the average child of African descent.
Where we raise the blacks to be seen as the minority class, for generations to come the same issues will continue to arise. Until both can sit on the same table at lunch breaks and the distribution of whites to blacks in schools is not 80:20 or 20:80; we are simply fighting without any clear hope for victory.