Black Lives Matter Isn’t Working.
If you haven’t heard already, two more Black people were killed by the police. On Tuesday, 9/20/2016, Keith Lamont Scott was shot in Charlotte, North Carolina. On 9/16/16, Terence Crutcher was shot and killed in Tulsa. Tulsa is the same city where the historic Tulsa Riots occurred.
In the wake of both of these events, I pause to wonder whether or not Black Lives Matter is effective. Are the efforts of all the protesters in vain?
The U.S has the history of casting aside the concerns of Black Americans and to my knowledge, since the inception of Black Lives Matter, there has been NO systemic change to end police brutality against Black people. Additionally, there has been no widespread effort to address the disproportionate wealth or poverty gap experienced by black people. There has been no effort to address the inequality in schooling and no effort to compensate the millions of Black Americans who have been targeted and unjustly incarcerated and criminalized because of poor, discriminatory drug policies (.i.e crack cocaine policy, war on drugs, mass incarceration).
The time has come for Black people to truly question whether or not our efforts are in vain. We’ve been protesting for many decades and every time we address one problem, another problem arises. When slavery was removed, it was replaced by sharecropping and Jim Crow. Jim Crow was removed, we got mass incarceration and the war on drugs. It seems like for every step forward that we take, we also take a step back. So we’re constantly in a stagnate situation.
Please don’t misunderstand. I will not say that nothing has changed over the past 150 years. We can no longer LEGALLY be enslaved, that is something that I’m grateful for. Nor am I saying Black Lives Matter has accomplished nothing.
Black lives matter has made accomplishments, which include:
1. Increasing youth activism
2. Calling attention to the issue of police brutality against people of color
3. Bringing corrupt policing policies, such as criminalization for minor traffic violations, into the public eye
4. Changing how we view and use social media
5. Petitioning to have Anita Alvarez, former State Attorney of Cook County Illinois, removed because of her failure to address systemic police abuse of Black people.
6. Encouraging people like Bruce Franks of Ferguson to run for City Council.
7. Calling attention to injustices in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson and Stanford, FL. As a result, in some of these cities, notably Baltimore, funding has been allocated to nonprofits that aim to address social justice in predominately minority communities.
Black Lives Matter has had some minor victories and I applaud all those who have peacefully protested and challenged the power structure within the United States. However, the question is…is it enough?
Will it ever be enough? I fear that the federal government will never take the concerns of Black people seriously. If they did, we would see some serious legislation to address the imbalance in policing, the disparity in wealth and the inequality in education. The government is moving slowly and it is very clear that Black people are not a priority.
When I see President Obama make speeches, with all due respect, I see a lot of lip service, but at the end of the day, it seems that nothing changes. It’s as though the government knows that if they throw Black people a bone every so often, we’ll shut up long enough for them to go back to the status quo.
It’s the same game that’s always been played.
Perhaps, it’s time that Black people consider alternatives. Why put your lives on the line when it’s likely nothing will change on the structural level?
Why pay taxes to support a police force that is not doing their job. Why pay taxes for schools that don’t educate Black children, why pay taxes for a government that won’t take our concerns seriously?
When people don’t do their jobs, they shouldn’t get paid.
Instead, Black dollars could be invested in things like supporting our own businesses, creating Independent Black schools and creating more Black media outlets.
I think an alternative to the current method would be to focus on economic independence. The only way Black people will ever have freedom is if we control our own economy.
For example, years ago Tulsa, Oklahoma was a prominent, wealthy and completely independent Black community. Black people controlled their own economy and business. As a matter of fact, Black people were doing so well that racist white people became resentful…and what happened? Racist white people got together and destroyed Black Tulsa and murdered some Black people and raped some Black women.
Nearly 100 years later, Black people are still being killed in Tulsa.
Despite the tragic end to Tulsa, it is a lesson for Black people. When we control our own economy, we have far more power than when we are dependent on others. I think Black people need to get back to economic empowerment and focus on developing our own sustainable, communities.
What do you think? Is Black Lives Matter Working?