Those are the words of a mass murderer and the thoughts of so many.
We live In a world where we are told that we have the right to our thoughts, whatever they may be. We have the right to speak truly and freely. Those are privileged statements that don’t reflect many the realities that black people live in. If you are a black women with an opinion, then why are you so angry? If you are a black male with a thought or opinion does what you have to say add more value than the white person next to you? You might be able to speak but the power of words relies in being heard and understood. We don’t often get the pleasure.
Words are powerful. They can lift, inspire and motivate. They can also decimate and disparage. We must choose our words carefully lest they turn into actions of their own accord.
Dylan’s words are that of someone who wanted to dabble in extermination of us as a people. A man looking to erase all signs of that he despised. What he despised, was us. He hated that we were “taking over his country” and “raping their women” and for that we needed to be wiped out in the most brutal way imaginable.
Since his arrest, there have been reports from friends and teacher that recall him expressing racist views. Why was this okay? Why was this acceptable? If he were a Muslims teen, he would have been tracked by the police, the FBI and the NSA for his thoughts. If you were a black teen, you would harassed by local police for “reasons they can’t disclose at this time”. His words and thoughts were powerful and led to his actions and no one noticed. Maybe they just didn’t care.
The words in media say more than they ever mean to. I have read reports that describe Dylann as soft-spoken, quiet and it has been re-iterated multiple times that he had “black friends“, Well, good for him. Slow clap, everyone. This paints a picture of a young, white boy led to commit terrible acts against innocent people as a mistake, an accident. Rick Perry, Republican candidate running for President of the United States had the audacity to actually say that it was an “accident“. Apparently, lying in wait in a historical black church for the moment to strike and snuff out the lives of people who’s only crime was being black is now classed as “accidental“.
The night and day responses to criminal acts when committed by white citizens compared to that of criminal acts committed by black citizens is so stark that it is unmistakable. Dylann had previously been arrested for possession of a controlled substance. Why wasn’t he in jail? How likely, even if it was a first offence, would a black teenager have to be to not go to jail for possession of a controlled substance? That teenager would be called a thug, miscreant and a blight on the good and moral foundation that the United States was built on whilst the white teenager would be believed when they said it was only a “one time thing” and that they were just “experimenting.”
Black teens don’t have the luxury of “experimenting” or going to pool parties without fear of reprisal because their worlds are encompassed by a society’s perception of them and how that relates to them living another day.
There is no value in black lives for the police, your congressman or from the media. We are constantly devalued everyday by the words the use to box us in. We are living in the black face of the 21st century.
The derision and disgust are not openly practiced, however the thoughts that lead to the vile actions in South Carolina live and breathe in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. Across State lines, oceans and borders. There can be a reshuffling of power, people who call you “rapists” can be “sorry for the tragic loss” and there can be one hundred new gun laws but is change is effect. Change with no possible means of enforcement. You can’t drill into someone’s head that buying a gun for their child’s birthday is not appropriate or acceptable. You can’t change their views of you that only have basis in how much melatonin your skin has. You have to accept, love and cherish yourself and your fellow brethren. Do not let their words define or control who you are.
My heart goes out to the families suffering during this time due to this heinous attack on their right to be alive, free and black. What we can all do for each other in these hard times is to surround ourselves with those that we love and let them know that we do. We can be protective of everyone who looks like us. Everyone who is marginalized and disaffected. We can actively choose not to let things slide. Every snide comment, every reaction of surprised disbelief at our ability to be excellent and independent human beings, every misconception and judgment is a chance for us to be proud of who we are. We should not create barriers and borders around ourselves. There is no separation. He is not African, he is not Caribbean, He is not African-American. We are one. We are collective with our own identities but we are bound by love, understanding and appreciation. We let that speak for ourselves and our value.
We let our words speak our truths. Does that make you uncomfortable?