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Black Lives Matter

by Evander


A/N: I understand that this is a rough draft. It's currently thirty minutes after midnight and I wanted to type this all up before I headed to bed. If you feel that a section could have been stated more clearly or if I need to expand upon a certain section, then those critiques would be greatly appreciated!

I also apologize for the grammar, since I threw the grammar books out of the window. Whoops.

I live in a world in which the color of my mother’s skin is a crime. Every time she goes out to work, I pray that she’ll get back safely; she doesn’t talk about the times when she met an officer on the road, but when she does, she just rambles on about how the only thing she wanted was to get back to our apartment alive.

The route on her way to work is a long country road. If she meets an officer, then there will be nobody around to film her. It’s likely that I won’t know of her being detained or her supposed “suicide” until it’s too late. For this reason, I want to purchase a dash cam for my mother. Despite all of the stuff that goes on in our lives, I want her to come home safe.

Every single day, I go over what will happen if she died. I wonder if someone managed to film it, if she would go “viral” like the rest of the deaths of black people.

There’s no respect in their passing. They’re shot, it’s filmed, it goes viral. Like a cat video, only less cute. We’re not human, we’re entertainment for the media to dissect. I wonder, if the media would look at my mother’s mental health records, and talk about how she obviously deserved it. I wonder if they would delve into my grandfather’s past and pin all of that on her. That’s obviously why she was shot.

The officer "feared for his life".

Despite the fact that the officer in question would probably have a gun, a taser, and body protection. They would probably have a body camera. It would “accidentally” turn off. A whole crew of people ready to vouch for them if something went wrong.

I feared for my life, he says standing behind his own gun. She was reaching into her glove compartment because I asked her to pull out her registration. My mind stopped. I thought she was grabbing her own gun. So, I did the most rational thing and I shot her. Please let me keep my job.

These scenarios go through my head, over and over.

My mother didn’t choose to be black; whenever she drives on the road, she doesn’t automatically put on a skinsuit that makes her a target (#DrivingWhileBlack). When she walks down the street, she doesn’t decide to put on darker foundation in order to look more suspicious. My mother did decide, however, to twist her hair into locs.

I fear that the police will try to search her hair for marijuana. I fear that they’ll detain her. I fear that the low-maintenance style that she chose years ago will get her killed.

Anxiety builds up in the pit of my stomach, crawling up to the back of my throat, leaving in the form of a sob whenever I think about this too much. It’s dangerous and it’s always been dangerous.

-

Black lives matter. Blue lives matter. All lives matter.

Life has value. I’m not denying that. When I say that black lives matter, the entire statement should read something like this:

I believe that all lives do matter but it appears that with the recent news coverage that some lives are treated as more precious than others for reasons both in and out of their control. With the treatment of black deaths and how they are presented, along with the fact that our pasts are scrutinized to the point where news anchors and the general public themselves are looking for an excuse to say that we deserved to die, I would like to remind everyone that black lives do in fact have worth and matter. So, to put it simply: black lives matter.

However, that’s a little long to say and for the sake of listeners, it’s easier to condense that down into three key words that promptly get the point across.

-

Police officers are important and I respect them for doing their jobs. I’m just afraid of those who can get acquitted even though they committed murder.

So when I’m saying that #BlackLivesMatter, I’m not saying that we should kill all cops. I’m not saying that we should kill anyone. I’m just raising awareness to the fact that we’re dying.

Thank you.


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Sun May 20, 2018 9:38 am
qalbdaye3 wrote a review...



just found this but wow this is first of all beautifully written (even though you said that your grammar had been thrown away which i do not see) and very touching. i am very deeply sorry that you have to go through this. society has its ways of being unfair and absolutely ridiculous but one day, hopefully one day, we will all be able to live in a world where things like racism, sexism, homophobia and etc. will not exist. much love and support <3 ~a




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Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:08 am
ashlingwolf says...



sorry duplicated. I don't know why..




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Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:08 am
ashlingwolf wrote a review...



Hi, Ashlingwolf here for review day!

While we all love a good short story, a good novel chapter, it takes a certain amount of courage to write a piece that tackles big issues. This is one of those pieces, and I actually thank you for writing about it. It's very important.

Race is one of those issues that isn't just going away because we really really want it to. This piece does a great job of calling attention to that- police brutality, particularly.

I like the idea of "I'm just afraid of those who can get acquitted for murder." I feel that hits the activism perfectly, and also I'm glad that was written, to show that- no, we don't hate the police. We don't hate white people. (I am a white person :3) But that we want equality.

(I didn't find any grammatical errors, but remember to always check!)

I do think that this piece would be improvable by also talking about how gender makes it even worse for your mother- that the way she way born- a black woman, makes her life hard.

Thank you for writing this piece- keep writing. I wish you and your mother safety.
-Ashlingwolf




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Sat Jul 23, 2016 5:39 pm
CuriosityCat says...



Thank you so much for writing this! :) It's absolutely beautiful and totally belongs in the spotlight. You are a seriously amazing person and writer. I swear I almost cried reading it. >.< We need more work like this in the world. We need to start a conversation. Honestly, you're a superhero. Rock on!




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Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:35 am
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reason wrote a review...



It was a disappointment to not see you elaborate further on your hook, the introduction of: "my mother’s skin is a crime." The fact that her gender, phenotype (she is read as black, I have been criticized for not respecting that not all people of that color identify as black because of anti-black sentiment -particularly in Latin America), and how little is spoken of for the black women that are slaughtered. Most names that people can recall of the top of their head are the men. Most activism focuses on the men and boys lost.

Here's is a great campaign, Say Her Name: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/say-her-name/ You didn't mention HOW her skin constitutes a crime and how her gender plays a role. Yes, your testimony is strong but there are activists now that say much of the same from their own experience. Your experiences of your mother's are limited as as she mentions to you is wanting to return home, but can you imagine seeking out a first account of WHAT IT WAS LIKE to be black and a woman? To be hypersexualized, desexualized, dehumanized -not into just subhuman if that, but boiled down to "angry black woman" because there are people who say black women aren't justified in being angry -regardless of race, because misogynoir is strong despite because of white supremacy/patriarchy.

The DNC said it resolves “that the DNC joins with Americans across the country in affirming ‘Black lives matter’ and the ‘say her name’ efforts to make visible the pain of our fellow and sister Americans as they condemn extrajudicial killings of unarmed African-American men, women, and children.” (source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/darrensands/dn ... .kvW71JJeB)

I remember when Islan Nettles died back in 2013. It hurt me to see another transgender woman of color slain, but what didn't shock me was the silence that followed by the mainstream. For two years there was silence. A man had been apprehended by police right after the "incident", but he was released. I followed the story for three years and it was only on April 2016 when she received justice: http://www.advocate.com/transgender/201 ... an-nettles She affected me because at the time, I was in Philadelphia every weekend. I knew that she could have been my girlfriend. To be clear, I am not black. My partner at that time was a Philly citizen, black, and very queer -her last name was Nettles. The current one is black and transgender, but white-passing and far away from Philly. I mention that because stop and frisk was awful (it still is, I'm sure). I would come to my car to see large hand prints on it -there for not hours, but days. Someone, no question about race because the neighborhood I was in, black had been stopped and kept there for a good while on the hood of my car to leave those prints.

Most black women die without anyone knowing their names. Few people will bat an eye at that, but so many transgender women of color will die without mention. "Police initially arrested 20-year-old Paris Wilson for the attack and charged him with misdemeanor assault, sparking outcry from Nettles’ loved ones and the transgender community. Wilson was released, however, after another man, James Dixon, confessed to the attack. More than two and a half years later, Dixon has pled guilty to killing Nettles in a trial that has laid bare many of the disturbing factors that so often play into violence against transgender women." source: http://www.hrc.org/blog/in-search-of-ju ... an-nettles

Yes awareness is vital, but if you finally get that attention please amplify the voices of the people who have been silenced for far too long. Historically speaking, black women have to fend off sexism and racism. Racism making them slaves, but I remember a law dictating; a white woman working in the field would not be taxed, but a black woman would be taxed as though she were a black man DESPITE not receiving the benefits of being a black man. I say this because black men were more likely to escape/be freed because they could learn a trade/be "rented" out for a season and even keep their own wages, and would have a higher rate of success escaping and remaining free because of their travels and no children physically depending on them.

It was common for escaped black people who were freed to demonize the black mothers that would try to run away without their infants -allowing the infants to die or be at risk of malnutrition should there not have been another nursing black woman around at that time. That's historical from a few hundred years ago, but there are residual evidence that has survived due to existing power structures of oppression making it so.

Do black women a favor and make this more about them. The body cam doesn't have to be turned off -there have been too many cases of the body cam on, but no one seeing a problem with a brown or black life ended/roughly handled. It's not from lack of evidence that change hasn't come out, but from denial and outright apathy.

Here's something to hurt: More recently, California prisons are said to have authorized sterilizations of nearly 150 female inmates between 2006 and 2010. This article from the Center for Investigative reporting reveals how the state paid doctors $147,460 to perform tubal ligations that former inmates say were done under coercion. (source: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog ... ed-states/)

That isn't historical, but recent. Tubal as in women only in that case: At least 148 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules during those five years – and there are perhaps 100 more dating back to the late 1990s, according to state documents and interviews.

From 1997 to 2010, the state paid doctors $147,460 to perform the procedure, according to a database of contracted medical services for state prisoners.

The women were signed up for the surgery while they were pregnant and housed at either the California Institution for Women in Corona or Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, which is now a men’s prison. (source: http://cironline.org/reports/female-inm ... roval-4917)

I commend you on wanting to bring out awareness, but I challenge you to be unflinching about it. Delve deeper, I recognized you did this at a late hour and it was a rough draft. I just felt it was pandered too much to respectability politics, but I'm a radical activist with a penchant of not playing nice. Good luck.




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Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:38 am
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Crysi says...



Beautifully said. As a white woman, I will never truly understand what it's like to be black, in these years and all the years before. But I will never stop saying Black Lives Matter. I read up on every news story about police brutality, and I am so angry that the officers always seem to get away with it. I read testimonies about witnessing daily harassment. I read articles and stories written by black people detailing their fears. And my heart hurts so much.

Wishing safety for you and your mother. I'm very glad this is a featured work. It's important, and I hope many people read it and absorb its message.




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Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:25 am
BluesClues says...



Would you mind if I shared this on my Facebook and Twitter? It's important, and while I know you said you typed this up after midnight and thought it was really rough, I think it's said very well.




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Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:22 am
BluesClues says...



Would you mind if I shared this on my Facebook and Twitter? It's important, and while I know you said you typed this up after midnight and thought it was really rough, I think it's said very well.




Evander says...


I wouldn't mind at all!



BluesClues says...


Splendid. Thank you.



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Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:28 pm
Poopsie says...



I think perhaps you could've worded this better....

Idk




Evander says...


What sections could I have worded better? I'm honestly looking to improve this!



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Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:56 pm
Imago says...



As soon as I'm in town, I will visit my hometown's police station and get to know someone there. I would like to see what the world is like from that perspective.




Evander says...


Perspective is always useful.



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Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:48 pm
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Sujana says...



A note: I do find it somewhat intriguing that works titled "Blue Lives Matter" and "Black Lives Matter" both stand in the literary spotlight as we speak, but aren't opposing forces. I think that's great--nobody should have to choose between the two, that would be a ridiculous and dangerous false dichotomy.

In any case, I loved this work. It was very intense all throughout, and the sentiment given off isn't one of hatred or anger, but of fear; something that I think everybody understands but is difficult to translate for other people. I felt really, really, really bad that you felt almost forced to include that last paragraph about how "all lives matter" because in this world, saying "black lives matter" (after horrible instances and tragedies where it's shown that the lives of black people aren't valued as much) is somehow insulting to all other lives unless you specify what you mean.

More power to you.




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Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:05 pm
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spectator says...



thank you for writing this!





Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.
— Samuel Butler