by PAJAH WILLIAMS
I feel like we’ve been having the same conversations for centuries. I feel like racism holds us down because we allow it to. Because we would rather run around with our heads cut off screaming, “Black Lives Matter” when a cop shoots down a teenage boy in Ferguson, but in Chicago black youth shoot each other daily trying to achieve respect by toting pistols and pushing drugs.
Black lives don’t matter then. Those are Bébé's kids. Those are stereotypes. “They don’t exist.” So we keep a blind eye. We bite our lips to the vein. We don’t deny it, but we don’t acknowledge it either. We have been completely and structurally corrupted to tear each other down all the time, but when another race invades into our shattered and divided community, we showcase a united front.
No, black lives don’t matter to the girl who bleached her skin hoping that someone, anyone, would look at her as if she has some sort of worth, value, or beauty. Because her “brothas” shamed her charcoal skin and were repulsed by her blackness despite being three to four shades darker than she.
Black lives don’t matter to the kid with the nappy afro. At just four years old sitting in the salon chair about to undergo a chemical procedure to eliminate that “ethnic” jungle of kinks and coils. Or later in life when she cannot bear to show her face in public without her waist length Brazilian bundle from the fear of being ridiculed.
Please do not come near me swearing that black lives matter to you when just two days ago you were belting out Nicki Minaj song lyrics that aim to berate and humiliate a certain caliber of black men by calling them out as “looking a** n******.” I see this way too often. I say this way too much, black men and women, as a general note, haven’t an iota of respect for one another. Black men are not “n******.” Black women are not “h***.” It saddens me to see how lost and self-depreciating we have become as a community.
Unity is something that we did have during the civil rights era but has been lost through the years, and now we are attempting to claim it back with this black lives matter campaign. But are we really? Because the way I see it, black lives don’t matter to black people and yet we summon the entire world to rally by our side singing "Kumbaya" as we commemorate the very lives that we helped to destroy.
I don’t say these things with haste. I love my people and I know how crucial the concerns about police brutality and systemic and colorblind racism are. These things are so real; they must be addressed, but would it be too much for us to take a step back -- to love and respect ourselves first before we go demanding that others elicit the same?
I hear what you’re saying. The chants are so clear, but if black lives really matter to you, then show me.