By Brandon Perkins, Staff Writer
“Black lives matter” has been one of the most frequently used phrases over the past few years. However, based on recent events and historical data, one can only find this phrase to be quite false in the sense of the word “matter.” Some of the definitions of matter include “to be of importance” and “something of consequence.” Were Mike Brown, Akai Gurley, ReNisha McBride and countless other black people treated with importance? Were there ever consequences for what happened to Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling or Freddie Gray? Once again an unarmed black person, Alfred Olango, was shot and killed following interaction with two El Cajon police officers. In the video Olango is seen pointing his hand toward the officers and producing an item, believed to be a gun, that turned out to be some type of tobacco vaporizer. A vaporizer is used for smoking. One would only think that a trained officer would know the difference between a smoking-device and a gun. Yet when the suspect or victim is black, he or she is almost always perceived to have a gun, even if it is really just a book or vaporizer. According to accounts, 911 dispatch was called by the victim’s sister because Alfred had had a seizure and been acting erratic. The victim’s sister called for help. It is quite horrific that the very people called for help are the ones who might end up doing the most harm imaginable.
Like most of these occurrences, there will be no consequences. One can only wonder why there were no EMT workers or other medical personnel on the scene; why there were only two police officers if the victim was having a medical emergency. If the victim were a member of the dominant society, this tragedy would have never happened. However, black lives matter, right? I recently observed an interview of NBA basketball star Lebron James, and during the interview James was asked about his thoughts on the recent police-related violence. During the interview James stated, “It’s a scary thought right now to think, if my son gets pulled over, you tell your kids, ‘if you just comply, and you just listen to the police, that if they will be respectful things will work themselves out.’ And you see these videos that continue to come out, it’s a scary situation. If my son calls me and says he’s been pulled over, that I’m not that confident that things are going to go well, and my son is going to return home.” If black lives matter, how could one of the most powerful people in the world have these fears?
I can recall several personal run-ins with overly aggressive law officials. One night specifically while walking home from work, I was stopped by a University City Police officer and aggressively dealt with. Instead treating me like a free citizen, the officer immediately shouted at me, “What the fuck are you doing out here?!” Before I had a chance to say anything, the officer rushed out his car, grabbed me, and threw me against the hood of his car. The officer then demanded to see identification; I did not resist and presented my identification card. Another officer then arrived on the scene. The officer forced me to sit on the dirty pavement while looking up my information. Once the officer was done checking my criminal history, which is nonexistent, he handed me my ID and told me I could leave. I then proceeded on my journey home.
This hateful treatment of black citizens must not continue. I believe that denying black citizens equal protection under the Constitution, while in other cases using the law to punish us to the fullest extent allowed is an atrocity, one that America should be ashamed to have created. In this country, the land of the “free,” this systematic practice has been perfected and reinforced over the last 400 years. All systems of white supremacy including but not limited to education, healthcare, banking, judicial, political, religious employment and media must be revolutionized, if black lives matter.