I don’t know what to say about this anymore. Right after Jesse Williams’ amazing speech at the BET Awards, I’ve seen a host of people call his demands for justice and equality “reverse racism.” And then in one day, a black man is murdered and another shot by police.
Black lives must matter. They do matter. So do brown lives and red lives. Declaring this enrages people. Respectability politics are dragged out. Cries of reverse racism ring shrilly through the air. Someone chimes in with all lives matter.
Black Lives Matter. They must matter. They do matter.
What to do, to make our institutions see that they do matter? To make our police, our teachers, our television stations, our script writers, our fashion companies all see that black lives and black bodies matter? And then to treat them as if they matter?
What to do, to help black people believe they matter too? What to do to stop the need for this endless cry, this phrase that can be a statement or a plea: Black Lives Matter! Black lives matter? Black. Lives. Matter.
And so do black deaths.
But outrage over black deaths from white allies is too little too late. Justice after the fact is called for and rightly so, but justice after the fact is unlikely and just not enough even if it is granted.
We need to do something so that the cry of black lives matter can echo in triumph, jubilant in its statement of fact. It should not be radical to say. It should not be protest to say. It should be a declaration that is supported and shown in the daily lives of people in this country. It must be that one day, we will truly be able to say that life is precious and protected and valued.