Do Black Lives Matter to Us?

My husband and I were having a discussion about the latest tragedies, where innocent black lives are being taken for no particular reason. I told him how it literally made me sick to think about; to know that yet another man/woman/child is being slain by a white person. I am usually not one to focus solely on the specifics of it just being black on white crime, but lately it’s hard to ignore or spin any other way.

My husband on the other hand, had a different perspective of the situation. I am paraphrasing what he said, but he basically asked this question:

black people are using these opportunities to rally, march and speak out about the racial war between us and white people, but what about the internal race war against ourselves?

That question really made me think long and hard about things. Most times, when I am on Facebook, I see just as much violence between blacks as I do against us. On one hand, I stand firm and will support the hash tag #BlackLivesMatter at every opportunity, but at the same time, when will our race begin to take on that mentality with each other?

I believe that as a race, we are discriminated against, treated unfairly and blatantly disrespected on more than one occasion. There have been more than enough incidents that have happened in recent years to prove that the African American race has not gotten fair treatment, and as a result, lives have been tragically lost at the hands of racial vigilantes and power-hungry officers who feel that having a badge makes them entitled to negate protocol and use the most excessive force possible, when it is completely unnecessary. We have protested, marched and rallied behind the cause to force people to see us. but it starts with a collected effort to change the narrative surrounding us and within us as a race and a world-wide community.

The media does not do a good job portraying us as we deserve to be portrayed (after all, we are humans too), but let’s take a minute and really think about it and ask ourselves, are we truly taking a stand to uplift ourselves, and show that we are more than what the media says? We fight each other in the streets like animals, but expect people to respect us. How can we when we haven’t shown that we respect ourselves?

I have learned in past years a few things:
1. I have to be more cautious than I ever have been.
2. I have to look and appear to be as non-threatening and hostile as possible to not be labeled as a “threat”.
3. I have to live in a constant state of paranoia.

But I think the most important thing I have learned that black lives have to matter to black people also. Or else no one will take us seriously. We have to stop fighting each other and stop killing each other, or else they will make that a justification for their actions. I’ve heard people say “well black people don’t even care about each other, they kill each other all the time.” So when is that going to sink in? When will we let our actions match our words?