This isn’t about Black Girl Magic or Black Boy Joy. In fact, all magic isn’t good… and that’s what I’m here to talk about today ladies & gentleman, boys and girls. Black is the color of American racism… it’s the color that most threatens White supremacy and privilege, the magic color of hate and racism. So today, this, this is about calling that out, and simultaneously honoring the lives and protesting the deaths of Trayvon, Mike, Alton, Amadou, Breonna, George, Philando, Akai, Freddie, Oscar, Jordan, Ahmaud, Daunte, Atatianna, Sandra, Tamir, Ma’Khia, and all of our other murdered Black people at the hands of White people and police officers that most often goes unpunished.
Murders supported by the powers that be, per their lack of action.
I’m all for anti-discrimination legislation. Full stop.
Black people have a history of enslavement that dates back to the 1600s in America. We were the subject of Black Codes which limited our movement in post-slavery America; legal lynchings; Jim Crow practices in the South that maintained segregation; and continuing programs, policies, and legislation in housing, education, finance, employment, and politics in national, state, and local levels. While the 14th Amendment and Title VII have been enacted to seemingly deter racism, these and other anti-racism and anti-discrimination laws do little to stop the outright racist killings of Black people, even unarmed Black people.
The Dyer anti-lynching law was introduced in 1918, to make lynching illegal. 103 years later… ONE HUNDRED THREE… this bill is still awaiting passage in the Senate. 103 years. The act of hoisting a Black body from a tree limb, in public, by a rope, from the neck, is not EXPRESSLY illegally federally, after that practice claimed so many lives throughout Black history in America. One hundred and three years later we are still waiting for that law to pass Congress. Yet in 1998, James Byrd was effectively lynched by being dragged by truck until his head was severed. Black is the color of racism.
In 1999, 22 years ago…TWENTY TWO… Amadou Diallo was shot by police officers after being mistaken for a rapist, while unarmed. He was shot several times in his armpits, showing he had his hands up in surrender to the police. Yet just a few days ago a thirteen year old child, shown in a video with his empty hands raised above his head, was killed by police, and a young lady defending herself with a kitchen knife against adult women at her own home was shot and killed by a police officer, no deescalation tactics used. These kinds of stories come every few months if not every few days. So many times White police officers enter situations involving Black people and deadly force is the only tactic they recall, not deescalation, disarming, crisis management, nothing. The only skill they recall with Black people is how to fire bullets into our bodies. Yet Dylan Roof killed Black parishioners in a church and got Burger King after, and probably his choice of Coke or Sprite. Black is the color of bias.
In 1998, along with James Byrd, Mathew Shepard was murdered, but not because of his race, Shepard was a White gay male. In 2009, Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act which added gender and sexual orientation to the 1969 Hate Crimes Act, and removed the requirement for race based hate crime victims to be engaged in certain federal activities. The law did nothing to make lynching a federal crime and is known as the Mathew Shepard Act because of its sweeping addition of gender and sexual orientation based additions to the law. While we can all agree it was a necessary and needed piece of legislation, Congress failed to effectively legislate on a practice that Black people in America had feared and faced for hundreds of years. Black is the color of inequality.
In 2020, COVID-19 spread throughout America. In part due to the then administrations messaging regarding the virus being a “Chinese virus” due to it’s impetus in Wuhan, China, anti-Asian attitudes heightened in America. This led to the introduction of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. This came to a head on March 16th when six Asians were killed in Atlanta. By April 22nd, just yesterday, the bill had passed both the House and Senate. It will surely become legislation once signed by President Biden. While we can all agree this is a necessary and needed piece of legislation, Black people have been being shot and killed by police and targeted by racists with weapons they should not have since well before COVID. Yet police and gun reform remain elusive, and people still coddle and make excuses for White people who murder Black people. Black is the color of injustice.
Hate, bias, discrimination, injustice, inequality… are all colored with the Black crayon in American culture. Devoid of light… dark… negative… unworthy. But we know better. We know we are enchanting, captivating, joyous, charming, fantastic, mystical, mysterious, desirable, amazing, miraculous, and magical. Black is not the absence of light, it is the physical absorption of every hue of visible light. We must act like we know who we are despite how others might try to convince us otherwise!
We must demand better. We must use our vote, our financial power, our voices to demand better. We can post Black Lives Matter memes and Black fists raised in solidarity in social media all day, but until we truly hold America accountable for the way it backseats Black life because of the notion that our magic makes them disappear, those posts hold no weight and don’t elevate us. The haters already know we are magic…
“Hate won’t get you high as this
Levitate, levitate, levitate, levitate”-Kendrick Lamar