After digesting everything that has transpired over the last week and noticing where the media has taken the conversation, I write these words to bring everyone’s attention back to the focal point: we need to unite to bring an end to racial injustice.
We’ve allowed those in power to create a system where a cop with multiple causes for concern is allowed to continue doing the job. We’ve allowed supervisors to turn a blind eye to reprehensible behavior and now, we’re all dealing with that negligence. We’re dealing with another human killed by those that took an oath to serve and protect us. What’s more, and what hurts the most as I am a black man, we’ve witnessed another instance of police brutality against a black American.
This horrific act has everyone’s attention. No matter what side of the aisle you are on, the only way forward is for every American to unite and agree that wrong is wrong. That’s it! And when wrong is committed, we need to know that our judicial system will recognize this and take the appropriate steps so that justice is served. We need to know that those at the top of a police department recognize this and make reforms so that these wrongs don’t continue to happen. We need, as citizens, to put our local city officials, mayors, and governors in the limelight so that they too recognize this and do what is within their lawfully given power to ensure these types of events don’t continue to happen. The entire chain of command needs to be held accountable because they’re all attached to it in some way.
When you hear black Americans say they’re tired, we truly are. This is no figure of speech. We’re mentally exhausted because the system continues to work against us by not recognizing that we’re continuously the subjects of its oversight. We all need to unite to correct this.
It’s tiring, too, to be exposed to the torrent of social media commentary that always accompanies these events. It’s positive that the wider community in the US and the world is aware and motivated to take action. What’s not positive is that when the situation calms down, it’s generally forgotten again. The brands that had something to say at the moment just move on. For black Americans, we can’t forget or move on -- we live with this every day.
These are simple issues of right and wrong. Are we judging each other by our common humanity first? Are we respecting each other as people before we treat each other as representatives of a particular political caste? This is work we all have a responsibility to do on ourselves, no matter how confronting that may be. We can't make it somebody else's job.
That black lives have long been treated in America as expendable -- whether by a minority within the police, by the justice system or, even, at times by the federal government -- is a fact of history. To draw attention to this is a simple call-to-action to redress a historic imbalance. To pretend that this implies other lives matter less is a deliberate misrepresentation and a weapon of division.
I agree that all lives matter. But to the folks that post this across social media channels, I leave you with this. For that to be accepted by all, then why do our cops continue to go disregard some black lives?
Ty Gates is the communications manager of futurefactor.