When the Derek Chauvin verdict was introduced, many individuals breathed a sigh of aid. The second was described as justice served, a uncommon second through which a police officer was discovered responsible of racial violence towards a Black particular person. However as we mirror again on the anniversary of George Floyd’s dying, it is clear that the US remains to be within the midst of a racial reckoning — it has not reckoned. I’m totally conscious that this verdict didn’t change the truth for Black males on this nation. The very fact of the matter is that Black men are disproportionately killed at the hands of law enforcement, for ever and ever.
I take into consideration all of the names which have turn into synonymous with hashtags during the last 10 years: Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Botham Jean, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. We regularly suppose these names shall be remembered all through historical past, however this damaged system of justice and legislation enforcement has failed a daunting list of Black men. The newer killings of 20-year-old Daunte Wright and Andrew Brown Jr. present one other stark reminder of a haunting conclusion: Black males would not have the chance to develop outdated in America. They’ve a lot life to reside and rising outdated to do. However they’re snuffed out earlier than they actualize their goals, attain their full potential, and reside their full humanity.
And, why within the nation the place their ancestors paid the last word value for this proper, do Black males not have the liberty to simply be? The average life expectancy of Black men is six years less than that of white men, in response to the Facilities For Illness Management and Prevention. It is a disproportionate final result, as a consequence of systemic racism, a disparate wealth gap, housing discrimination, unfair lending practices, unstable employment, criminalization, and extra. President Joe Biden, who at 78 resides his dream of changing into president, stands in stark distinction to Black men who are more likely to die before reaching the age of 78.
I merely wish to see Black males develop outdated. I wish to see them not meet their deaths due to frivolous visitors stops, driving whereas Black, purchasing within the grocery retailer, working, or every other technique of bizarre residing, which Black males have each proper to do. They should develop outdated, as an alternative of being lowered to hashtags on social media.
Derek Chauvin’s responsible verdict was a realization of simply how low the bar is for Black males to obtain accountability. The phrases “accountability” and “justice” aren’t synonymous or interchangeable. But they’re usually conflated. Accountability is to acknowledge a system of injustice. Justice is the abolition of the system that perpetuates and upholds the injustice. Accountability implies that it could not have required 17-year-old Darnella Frazier to movie the homicide of George Floyd to ensure that People to comprehend that police brutality and racism had been wiping out a complete technology of Black males.
Justice requires us to look at the system that replicates a cumulative impact of injustice; it is the place no singular act (or on this case, verdict) bears accountability for shifting consciousness. As a substitute, justice would imply that the names of Black males wouldn’t be trending on social media. Justice would imply that the establishment of policing, whose origins had been designed to inflict racial hurt and violence on Black males with out immunity, wouldn’t exist. Justice would require us to dismantle and abolish the techniques that had been created to allow injustice.
Justice would imply that George Floyd and different Black males could be alive right now. True justice would imply that Black males are afforded the chance to develop outdated. A chance to not need to go on to their sons “The Talk,” the ceremony of passage the place Black males discover ways to survive encounters with legislation enforcement.
The Chauvin verdict was one very small step towards accountability within a system that is supposed to render justice for all. We all know this technique was not constructed to guard Black folks, and we proceed to see the manifestation of this in each aspect of societal life. So even when one thing like this step towards accountability occurs, it stays exhausting to be hopeful. The data of what we nonetheless should overcome is not going to permit me to have a good time or really feel content material.
I grieve for Black males. I grieve for Black folks in all places as a result of we all know the gravity of what it means to be Black in America, and the trauma we bear only for present. It shouldn’t be this tough for us to reside, be, create, and develop outdated. For me, the achievement of all these issues is justice, and we now have not but arrived at that vacation spot. George Floyd and all the opposite Black males whose names had been lowered to hashtags deserved higher. They deserved to develop outdated. That is my want for all Black males: I simply need them to develop outdated.
For my husband, brothers, mates, college students, and all of the Black males I have no idea: Black males should be free, dream, soar, and simply be. The lives of Black males should be lived. Black Lives Matter. And mattering is simply the minimal.