Janelle Monae sings, in her song, Q.U.E.E.N.:
Are we a lost generation of our people?
Add us to equations but they'll never make us equal.
She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel.
So why ain't the stealing of my rights made illegal?
Raising to the surface the issue of the equality of our people: BLACK people. As always, the society that which we currently live in has not fallen too far from the invasive fruit tree that was planted by this country's alternative founders. Shrouded in lies, untruths, and fallacies, this nation is not exactly the land of the free. Rather, a deep-rooted set of racial-biased terms and conditions are applied to those with any type of melanin in their skin. Thus, negating the entire idea of "freedom." Being that freedom knows no boundaries, how can we - people of color - be free if there are boundaries blocking that very freedom? And if those boundaries are primarily shaped to target those of us with melanin, then what does that say about this country's outlook on us?
No stranger to the injustices that plague my fellow black queens and black kings, the shooting of the young black man, Philando Castile, was sadly, just one of many unnecessary deaths. A death, like many before him, and, unfortunately after him, alternatively justified by the archaic biases of a nation founded on the very hate they say they don't possess. It seems that since the loss of Trayvon Martin back in 2012, the lives of Blacks, men, women and children alike, have come under unprecedented danger. Like animals for the sport of killing, it seems that the law enforcers, the officers — the ones who are here to serve and protect us — and just ANY one who happens to be un-melanin-ated have been picking us off, one by one. A real-time version of the movie The Hunger Games, we, blacks, have been involuntarily volunteered as tribute to a murderous purge where the hunter is glorified.
With no repercussions.
With no consequences.
Left to live out the remainders of their lives with all their rights and civil liberties intact.
Their killings: JUSTIFIED by a system severely flawed and painfully biased to keep us at bay. A system designed to ensure that our lives, black lives, DO NOT MATTER. A sad, unjust, reality.
Now the story of Philando Castile starts and ends in a familiar grim manner just as any story of any person of color killed while black starts and ends. As on any ordinary day, Philando Castile, sitting in the passenger seat of his car with his daughter in the back seat and his girlfriend driving, is pulled over by Officers Yanez and Kauser due to a typical traffic stop. A bleak, yet normal reality for Castile, a black man who is used to the unwarranted traffic stops any normal black man is subjected to, falls in line, ready to follow orders. However, this stop, unlike the many previous ones before, took a turn for the absolute worst. Following the instructions of the Officer Yanez to present his Driver's License and Registration, Castile, lets it be known to the officers, upon their questioning of whether a firearm was present in the vehicle, that a firearm, was indeed present in the vehicle. Also making note to the fact that the firearm was located in the same area as his registration paper(s), Castile, still calm, still respectful, still courteous to the officers even upon the drawing of their firearms towards him, reaches for his papers he would never be able to present to them. Met with an onslaught of bullets, Castile is shot in front of the eyes of his young daughter and his girlfriend. He is shot following direct orders. Shot for obeying. Shot for listening. SHOT by four bullets. Four. Bullets. Four: the age of his daughter. The age in which she will always remember as the age in which she witnessed her father, a black man, be robbed of his very breath.
A present black father. Taken. With no remorse. Four: the amount of days prior to Castile's shooting in which an armed robbery occurred in the nearby community resulting in a manhunt for a man of color, that Castile "allegedly" resembled.
A present black man. Profiled. Without due process.
Four: the amount of years Officer Yanez and Office Kauser had been with the police force in St. Anthony, Minnesota.
Enough time to learn to hunt protect. With fear.
Bullets: what many will say killed Castile without truly realizing a bullet cannot shoot itself. The individual wielding the firearm that contains the bullet is the immediate cause of the horrid effect.
The symbol of the purge. With minimal terms and conditions for BLUE LIVES.
Four. Bullets. Took away the life of outstanding individual. The life of “Black Mr. Rogers,” the name local folks in Castile's community, gave him due to his love and respect for his community.
Four. Just four.
And how was justice served, you may wonder? In the same manner, it is ALWAYS served: UNJUSTLY. His murderer was acquitted. Released to return to his LIFE. His LIFE. Unlike Philando, who had his RIPPED from his chest. His killer, officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was given back his "freedom." To live out the rest of his life: ALIVE (and more than likely) well. Which brings us back to Janelle Monae's verse in Q.U.E.E.N.: So why ain't the stealing of my rights made illegal?
This is how the STEALING of our rights are MADE legal: through words despite ACTION.
Castile's very RIGHT to LIVE, was stolen from him. By a man. Not by God. But by a man. A man who's morals were supposedly clouded due to a cry-wolf claim of "FEAR." An archetypal response. Commonly misused by many officers before him to justify the drawing and firing of their weapons upon their sought-out suspects (victims). A regular LIE. A regular FALLACY. A regular UNTRUTH told by BLUE LIVES and believed by the masses, by the majority of individuals who cry out ALL LIVES MATTER. Mightier the PEN, mightier the WORD, than the sword. Even with clear video evidence displaying the stealing of a man's rights to LIVE, to BREATHE in live-time, in ACTION, the simple statement: I was in FEAR of my life negated an ENTIRE video. The simple statement acquitted a man guilty of a senseless murder. Murder. The stealing of LIFE! The stealing of the very first right God granted each one of us. The stealing of a LIFE that was NOT his to take.
They say sticks and stones may break one's bones, but words will never hurt. My oh my! Look how they LIE. Shaping the words to fit any situation. When, in reality, their words are coded to protect themselves from false realities they dwell within to avoid the truths they try to keep buried in the dark. But they forget, what is done in the dark always becomes known in the light. As I've before in many different ways, once awoken, once one is aware of the LIGHT, there is no going back to SLEEP. The body, the mind, will DESIRE to be in it. To RISE in it. To SHARE it. Though, the outcome of Castile's case is like many painful stories of BLACK LIVES lost, it is also still a DARK tale brought to LIGHT. A tale told to those of us who are not blissfully and ignorantly walking through a fake utopia. It is another line item in a LONG RECEIPT of unjust discrimination. A receipt that will keep growing as we ring up, line after line, the ACTIONS taken against us. Proving our lives DO NOT MATTER. And more importantly, a receipt that God is saving for the day in which ANSWERS to the crimes upon His people must be given. On that day, the JUSTICE that has been evaded for years, decades, and centuries, will be served piping HOT. Despite the desire for us to want to witness and live to see a day in which justice is rightfully served, it may just be a chapter in the grander book of life not meant for us to read. Which we have to learn to LIVE with. As the late great, Whitney Houston once sung, “It’s not right, but it’s okay, I’m going to make it anyway.” And so we shall: MAKE IT. But in our “making it” will continue to RISE in the light. We will continue to climb out of the dark sunken place they try to keep us. We will continue, as Janelle Monae sang in Q.U.E.E.N:
We rising up now, you gotta deal you gotta cope.
Question is now: will you sleep or will you PREACH?
Want further reading on the death of Philando Castile, the outcome of his case, as well as to reference the articles I drew a number of my thoughts above from, follow the links below:
Remember that you cannot do better if you do not know better. If you stay ready, there will be no need to get ready. So, do yourself a favor and become AWARE. Aware of the light. Aware of the dark. Always be READY. And then share your knowledge with those around you. Help your brothers and sisters get ready. Because there is always more strength in numbers.
:: Post Rationalizing(s)
"I get that pushing a vulnerable person to commit suicide is manslaughter. I'm just confused about why shooting someone isn't.”
— Joy Givens —