While the white media focused on the attire worn by so call celebrities at the Met Gala, another black boy lay in a morgue, prematurely murdered at the hands of police. Jordan Edwards, a fifteen year old high school freshman would leave a party on Saturday night, but would never make it home. Edwards suffered a gun wound to the head after a police officer shot into the vehicle carrying him home. This case is yet another page in a book of black homicide masqueraded by the media and police as an officer’s legal mistake.
The murderer originally lied and stated that the car was moving “aggressively” down a street in reverse, but footage from the scene reported the opposite. Still, the murderer’s name has yet to be released and the precinct’s corrected “facts” does nothing to resurrect this young man from the dead.
What is particularly bothersome about this case is the emphasis the media, notably The New York Times, placed on Edwards not being a “thug.” This world is consistently aligned with the black male body despite circumstance. The emphasis on this exclusion, presents Edwards as an anomaly, despite his greatness reflecting the richness of his collective. If you look up “thug” in the dictionary, it reads:
a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber or murderer
Despite consistent attachment to the black male body, the word thug is inconspicuously congruent to the white male body. From seizing this country from the indigenous, to robbing Africa of her first born children and her resources, to robbing the abducted Africans of their language and culture, to murdering the Native American and Africans to appease their selfish quest for power— no human personifies this term to the extent of the white man. The black collective could never match the depth of indecency the white man has cast onto the western world in past or present. Therefore, the black man has not and never will be a thug. The black man as a thug is a myth that exists to deflect away from the true evilness of white male supremacy.
Furthermore, despite another young black man prematurely assuming a place below the ground, the white media uses this to suggest that not all black men deserve to die, but that this is an anomaly. Whether an a student, a doctor’s son, a welfare recipient or a dopeman, no black man deserves to die because a white officer feels emasculated by his confidence and refusal to exist on his knees. The government should be better than the people it represents in order to truly be a guiding force. Thus, even if a human is belligerent or reckless a government official should be able to mollify the despondent without murdering him or her. This of course never happens when the person in question is black, because the laws function to protect others from us, not protects us from them. The black collective has no justice in America. Justice is not justice if reserved for the few, for true justice is extended to all without regard for circumstance.
There is simply no circumstance which require white officers to police black communities. Cop cars inundate black communities around the world, not to ensure our safety but to arrest blacks for petty crimes that will ultimately prove a gateway for a longer or even life sentences. Cops are not for the black family, or the black community. They are soldiers sent to reinforce white supremacy by any means necessary. A casualty in this mission, Jordan Edwards, like many other black youths throughout the collective, will never get a chance to vote, attend college, start a business or even learn the totality of racism in America because he’s dead. Another young life seized by the white supremacist’s lust for power. Another young black man murdered in cold blood before gaining an opportunity to seize his true potential.
For these reasons, I never got the praise extended to American soldiers who “keep us safe.” Who is safe? A black man walking down the street, or returning home from a party risks his life in the same manner as any solider–but he does not get any honor after his death. More black men have died for this country than any solider, yet the black male body still cannot shed the thug labeling. If a hard working child cannot go to a party without making it home alive, if little girls go missing and vanish without a trace or any media coverage, if a grown man playing pretend can murder a child and go free, blacks are anything but safe. Safety is reserved solely for those of the majority, achieved solely by presenting danger to those in the most need of protection from the wrath of white supremacy.
These shootings have seemingly fulfilled their societal purpose and caused many within the black collective to go numb, or revert to fear as a mode of survival. To some, these events do not feel real either because they happen too far away or have yet to happen to someone near and dear to their heart. I’m asking any member of the black collective to put these sentiments away. Everytime one of these stories happens locally or nationally we must regard this as if one of our cousins or brothers were murdered, because if we continue to distance ourselves from our truth–soon enough it will be our fathers, brothers, husbands, or cousins. It may even be you.
We must police own communities, and not via the police department. Blacks must provide the protection denied to us by this country. We achieve this protection through self-education, for white institutions will never give us the key to unlock the chains of mental slavery. We must educate our children about their lack of rights and paint a vivid picture of who the real thugs are, so that they possess the self-determination essential to realize the immensity of their collective greatness. This way, if we must die, and we must if we dare possess any integrity, let it happen as Claude McKay, in his poetic brilliance delineates in “If We Must Die”
If we must die—let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die—oh, let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe;
Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!