Black Lives Don’t Matter
Throughout our recent history and up until present day, black lives haven’t mattered.
With systemic oppression, institutionalized racism and the school-to-prison pipeline black life has never mattered as “the lives of people of color” but as, simply…black bodies.
Completely dehumanized, these black bodies have only mattered as Product and Service. American commerce knows these goods all too well, dead or alive. And like most goods, there is no self-awareness to potential profit or worth because products are not people and do not possess cognition (even though self-driving cars and Siri will tell you otherwise).
So What Does Matter?
Black Bodies in Fashion
It’s no surprise the infamous postcard of black women is behind them, literally! With yoga pants, Kim K and squats (thanks Planet Fitness) the booty has been brought to the forefront of fashion (once again).
You can’t have a top without a bottom. But what if you have a person of color on the top… is it still white supremacy? Well, I’m glad you asked. White Supremacy = “Suppression of Non-Whites choices” = Oppression. and since “oppression” is defined of the lack of choices. It’s only right that white supremacy have multiple ways to keep that idea in play. Dayvon Love explains this much better than me. (see video)
Video by MSNBCatlantablackstar.com
Love said, “I think people reduce racism to individual white folks in leadership, black people who are succumbed to white folks, and I think Baltimore just shows the sophistication of white supremacy, and how it operates, how it takes black figures, put[s] them in institutional position’s to give the veneer of justice, when really the same institutional arrangement exists.”
So black puppets matter?
To be clear, this has nothing to do with black entertainment. This has to do with the exploitation of black characters, people, and narratives. For those of you that know about mansplaining, blaxploitation is the manipulation, exaggeration and falsification of people of color and their social identity via Hollywood and stereotypes. So white people telling black stories is just as bad as men inaccurately dictating to women what women’s rights are?
“Made In USA” became a big trend to slow the outsourcing of jobs by American companies trying to go offshore. However, the cheap labor wasn’t turned into living wages for Americans, instead companies gave those jobs to prison workers. Prison bankers and state jailers already make money off high fees for financial services. But with businesses wanting bail outs after the reccession, the prison-industrail complex was given new life. Black Life Sentences to be exact.
What’s the Prison-Industrial Complex? The prison industrial complex (PIC) is a term used to describe the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems. The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Even suing for it.
“People are swept into the criminal justice system — particularly in poor communities of color — at very early ages … typically for fairly minor, nonviolent crimes. [The young black males are] shuttled into prisons, branded as criminals and felons, and then when they’re released, they’re relegated to a permanent second-class status, stripped of the very rights supposedly won in the civil rights movement — like the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, the right to be free of legal discrimination and employment, and access to education and public benefits. Many of the old forms of discrimination that we supposedly left behind during the Jim Crow era are suddenly legal again, once you’ve been branded a felon.” — Michelle Alexander, Legal Scholar and Co-Author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
It’s 2015, Jim Crow isn’t in the north. Although here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.
Which means longer sentences. This also meant that laws require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances. Generating an expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.
So to give a clearer picture of this new form of slavery.
It’s in Americas best interest to lock you up than send you to school.
It’s just easier to do hide these micro-aggressions in subtle activities.
And not just America!
Black Lives have never mattered as much as #BlackLivesMatter. It’s almost as if the hashtag made the message that Black people have been dying (literally) to prove. No one should have to prove their humanity, but in Baltimore media has been there trying to get the story about the Riots, Dogs and Cops. This is no longer about civil rights or justice for #FreddieGrey. Fox News reporter Geraldo Rivera got a rude awakening in Baltimore.
“I want you and Fox News to get out of Baltimore City because you’re not hear reporting about the boarded up homes and the homeless people under MLK. You’re not reporting about the poverty levels up and down North Ave. Two years ago, when the 300 men marched from Milton & North to Hilton & North, you weren’t here. But you’re here for the Black riots that happened. You’re not here for the death of Freddie Gray. You’re here for the story.” — Kwame Rose, responding to Geraldo’s personal attacks
The truth is…if the lives mattered we would not need a reminder. We wouldn't need a hashtag. This list however is all the ways in which we do and have mattered. I wish it wasn't the case but it is. Even the riots are using the circumstances of political disregard to put Baltimore back on the table of discussion. It’s long overdue. The recent uprising has it’s own #IBleedBaltimore Feed.
But what if it wasn't like this. What if it was like this:
“What would America be like if white people loved black people as much as they love black culture?” was the question Amandla Stenberg, who played Rue in the first Hunger Games movie, asked on Tumblr. Her answer is priceless.
So are all these things Racist?
Black lives haves only mattered in context to and fully dependent on the lives of white people. It seems we have successfully achieved civil rights to some regard and in the process our human rights have been null…unless apart of a system.
“There is no such thing as race. None. There is just a human race — scientifically, anthropologically. Racism is a construct, a social construct. And it has benefits. Money can be made off it. it has a social function, racism.” — Toni Morrison
Knowing this, all I can ask myself is… how can I too make money for myself?
I know. #BlackIRAsMatter