Say his name. Say his name? Whose name? There are too many to choose from. More and more Black men are being hunted down and executed by trigger-happy overzealous enforcers of the law and more often than not, those depraved souls were unarmed. While many decry the actions of the victims as precursors to their ultimate demise a finger is pointed at the rules of engagement by police. Talks of de-escalation tactics pepper a muted conversation on accountability while platforms of Black unification continue to struggle for traction in a hostile environment.
In 2017, a grand total of 987 people were shot and killed by police. in comparison, Chicago recorded 650 murders in 2017, a drop from 771 murders in 2016 — which had been the deadliest year in nearly two decades according to CNN. The Washington Post reports that a quarter of the 987 people shot by police involved mental illness. Throw in “Cop-itis” and that number goes up to three quarters. Now, a total of 223 cases involved a Black subject… less than half. You would assume however that number would be greater considering all the sensationalistic hype news coverage fodders each time it happens. Out of that 223 cases, 214 were Black men. That pretty much closes the door on the argument that police are killing Black women at a higher rate than others. Out of 223 “colored” bodies, only 7 belonged to women. The most glaring figure yet is the number of unarmed men in these cases. Out of 214 Black men killed by police in 2018, a staggering whopping 19 cases were recorded to have involved an unarmed Black man. 19! Just shy of 10% Hardly the impressionable figure BUT “All Lives Matter” including those 19.
In 2018, the disparity in the numbers is similar. So far, 294 people have been shot and killed by police. 60 of them were Black. From that 60, 57 of them were Black men. The number of those men who were unarmed came out to 4 so far… but the year is young still.
Say his name!
The four unarmed men shot and killed by police are: Danny Thomas, an unarmed 35-year-old Black man, shot and killed on March 22, 2018 in Greenspoint, Tx., Stephon Clark, a 23-year-old shot and killed on March 18, 2018 in Sacramento, Calif., Ronnell Foster, a 33-year-old who was shot and killed on Feb. 13, 2018 in Vallejo, Calif., and Arther McAfee Jr., a 61-year-old man shot and killed on Jan 20, 2018 in Longview, Tx.
In the face of this clear and present danger of police violence, what will eventually be the catalyst that sparks tangible, substantial change? Besides activism and police reform, what will Black people do to create opportunities to prevent further shootings? What kind of network infrastructure will Black people establish as a safety net for the community and its members? Instead of crying foul on one hand and living the stereotype on the other why not take matters into your own hands? Call out what’s wrong. Celebrate what’s right. Elevate the frequency of the masses one vibration at a time. Use your vibranium for good for a change.
Black Panther just reached number 4 on the list of top domestic grossing movies. A lot of pseudo-praise is being shifted Black people’s way. Indeed a feel good Black movie with lots of symbolism and majority of the melanated community ate it up and asked for seconds like a fat kid on Thanksgiving. Nappy haired brothas and sistas walked out of screenings nationwide throwing up Wakanda Forever and feeling Black pride….. but how is that pride of self displayed at home, at school, at work, and everywhere else? If descendants of Africans can get behind Wakanda than surely they can get behind each other and lift each other up as a people to a competitive level. A formidable one.
The shootings are there. The sensationalism dwarfs the facts but a unifying call is still vital to the sustainment of the original people. It is for the greater good.