Jewish People and Black People Share Intergenerational Trauma, Which Makes Black Lives Matter a Jewish Issue, too.

When I was a kid, I accidentally wore my Jewish star necklace in a passport photo. My mom didn’t notice until after the photo was taken. That’s the first time I remember being told that some people hate Jews just for being Jews, and some countries would not let me in or out if they knew. Luckily, the passport photo was small enough that the necklace wasn’t visible.

MOTHER WITH BABIES, 1974, ROMAN HALTER

When I first started dating I asked my mom, “do I have to only date Jews?” Her response was that she’ll share what her mother told her: I didn’t have to only date Jews, but 6 million Jews died for being Jewish, which means Jewish family members were taken too soon. If I marry a Jewish person and have Jewish children, I would be doing a mitzvah (good deed.)

In High School, a classmate made a fake myspace profile of me named “Ingrid Jewburger” and talked about turning me into smoke. My family wasn’t surprised that someone could put that evil into the world and explained that this was a lesson about being cautious.

The Jews, collectively, have been in pain. In 2018, a gunman opened fire on the congregation at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 Jews while they were praying on Shabbos. The act of terror didn’t surprise me or start a new fear for me. Rather, it confirmed a fear that my ancestors had warned me about. It confirmed a fear that the Jewish people have always been training for. As anti semitism continues to rise in the US, many Jews have been asking themselves “will I know when it’s time to run?” and “Have I learned enough from my ancestors about what to look for?”

Just as my parents had explained to me, I find myself explaining to my convert husband to make sure our passports are always up to date and to do our best to have emergency money tucked away. This planning is a trauma response triggered by the intergenerational trauma that holocaust surviving grandparents passed on to their children, and which was then passed on to their grandchildren.

Two nights a year, we gather around a table with our family and read a story about when Jews were slaves in Egypt. We recline with comfort and cushions while taking stock of our privilege. There are so many stories that include “and they tried to kill the Jews.” That’s the knowledge that we carry with us wherever we go. Crises where Jews were enslaved or forced to flee their homes have been traced back for over 2000 years, and Jewish tradition influences us to continuously remember and reflect on the tragedies and oppression our people have survived. Our traditions frame our history as resilient.

Learning about the trauma we inherit from our parents and grandparents teaches values in anti-bigotry because it exposes us to the fact that even small acts of anti semitism can have dangerous systematic implications. There is a concept in Judaism called Tikkun Olam, which translates to “repair the world.” Tikkun Olam is the motivation behind much of Jewish giving and social activism, because responsibility is on both the Jewish individual and on the Jewish people as a unified community to do good for this world. Along that same logic, Jewish people can’t be separated from the bad behavior of individual Jews. There’s an understanding among Jewish communities that when one Jewish person acts badly, it creates risk for hatred of all Jews. Just look back at the scandal of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. His crimes served as a “lighting-rod for anti-semitism,” fueling harmful stereotypes that date back to biblical times, encouraging “acceptable” Jewish bias. Our actions speak on behalf of many and have lasting impact, so we must work to be good to the world so the world sees the Jewish people as good.

Image by Adam Garvey

16 year old, Adam Garvey, understands Tikkun Olam as a direct call to support Black Lives Matter because “standing up against injustice is a huge part of Jewish values.” Garvey understands that policy change and being vocal against bigotry is positive representation of Jewish core beliefs. He’s using his statement “Tikkun Olam means Black Lives Matter” to raise funds for the NAACP.

As protests soar across the US (and the world,) it’s undeniable that white consciousness of racial injustice is growing. The similarities between Black trauma and Jewish trauma are palpable. Black people demand we Say Their Names: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade as they mourn over the same sentiment that Jews have expressed, that they’re not surprised but rather tired and rightfully angry.

In Jewish history, numbers hold symbolic value. Romans destroyed a Jewish temple and the oil menorah burnt miraculously for eight nights. Jews wandered the desert displaced for 40 years. Six million Jews were tortured and murdered during a holocaust, creating a need for the word “genocide.”

The history of racism against Black people has some astounding numbers, too. 246 years of slavery in America. Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people. Black mothers are 3.2 times more likely to die during childbirth than white mothers. Jews can be racist against other Jews, too. In Israel, 90% of Ethiopian Jewish youth convicted by the court were sentenced to imprisonment, compared to one-third of other Jewish youth. Racial Trauma plagues a community when they have to gather statistical data about their race being systematically and lethally oppressed to prove theres is a national and system-wide problem, while simultaneously having to demand to be treated as a person and not a number. Monnica T. Williams, PhD, ABPP says racial trauma is the reason why people of color have a higher rate of PTSD than white Americans.

The fear Jews hold is internalized because our intergenerational trauma has trained us that we always need to exercise a degree of censorship on our Jewishness, to protect us from possible anti semitism. It’s as little as knowing I shouldn’t wear a star of David necklace in a passport photo and the thought that if the wrong person knew we were Jewish, they might come after us, too.

The keyword in knowing that Jews experience oppression differently than Black people is “too,” as we are reminded every day that Black lives are stolen at a disproportionate rate while white Jews benefit from our privilege. Our own internalized fear makes racial injustice feel so personal, especially if you’re a Black Jewish person who has to navigate the fear of anti semitism, racial injustice at a national scale, AND micro-aggressions from your own Jewish community. Addressing these differences are instrumental within activism for policy change because they afford white Jews privilege that can be used to uplift Black people, which includes Black Jews. We may all share similar fears about white supremacy, but we have unequal power in social agency.

Judaism could be considered a religion and a culture, with a geopolitical force. Diaspora (which Black people have also experienced in their history,) created a racially diverse Jewish people, which has made the Jewish community torn on whether anti semitism is racism. Intergenerational oppression has occurred differently for Jewish people than Black people and other people of color, as many of us are able to walk in public without being detected as Jews. At the same time the media was quick to blame Jewish people for the spread of Covid, someone explained to me, “I didn’t know you were Jewish! You don’t look Jewish!”

Jewish people can be riddled with fear, planning for the next time we have to run from something, and yet so many of my friends have told me they’d like to be Jewish. I find myself repeatedly explaining to my convert husband that we need to have exit strategies, just in case. While Adam Sandler’s Chanukah song plays for laughs sandwiched between sets of a dozen Christmas jingles: “All Jewish people are funny and rich!” with no recognition that there’s lifelong planning to feel safe as a proud Jew in the world.

When I first saw white people sharing the compassionate quote, “I understand that I’ll never understand, but I stand with you,” I felt like I did have some understanding. After some self-reflection, I recognized that though I was taught to be alert for signs of anti semitism, it doesn’t compare to a black mother training her black child how to talk to those who protect and serve not to shoot you for existing.

I can acknowledge my privilege and that I benefit from racism as a white person, while also understanding that as a Jewish person, I experience forms of oppression.

Many well-meaning Pittsburghers shared a Pittsburgh Strong Jewish graphic after the Tree of Life shooting, yet I’m still meeting people who think I’m the first Jewish person they’ve ever met. It makes me wonder, is anti semitism less of a threat than racism or is the violence labeled less as a hate crime because who knows the face of a Jew? I’m still trying to understand this phenomena, but I think it speaks to a level of privilege that allows me to censor my Judaism to protect me from the dangers of anti semitism.

We have a reoccurring joke in my house: When examining the Torah or Jewish history, the Jews are always being hunted. “What a surprise!” one of us will exclaim. “Haman wanted all the Jews dead!” I can understand that there’s no humor in a sarcastic joke like that for Black people, when white Jewish people have a dark history of minstrel shows and blackface. Though Jewish and Black people have experienced similar crises and oppression, white Jews have to own up that we’ve used our privilege to keep Black people down in social equity.

At the height of my fear in 2018, I wrote “There are times where the world seems so small, but in these times of crisis it feels gigantic. It feels scary and unpredictable. Each time someone sings a song of peace or a Jew leaves their house even though they’re scared, the world gets smaller and more comfortable again.”

For Black people mourning lives that shouldn’t have been taken, there is no place proven to be safe for them. They’re pulled from their cars, held down and suffocated in the streets, and shot while they’re sleeping in bed.

For Jews, we call on our ancestors to teach us how to stay safe.
Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. says, “Transgenerational transmissions take on life in our in dreams, in acting out, in ““life lessons”” given in turns of phrase and taught us by our family. Discovering transmission means coming to know and tell a larger narrative, one from the preceding generation.” We read the Torah or listen to our grandparents for experiences on how to protect ourselves when people come for us. Black crisis is happening right now, in front of our eyes, relentlessly for more than 400 years. While our plight has similar themes from diaspora to micro-aggression, it is not the same. They’re not holding life lessons from their parents and looking out for a possibly dangerous white person that they may encounter. Hundreds of years of consistent community crises at a universal, unconditional level means that there are no trustworthy white people.

Internalized and intergenerational trauma gives Jewish people the unique ability to transfer our learned coping to lift up Black folks. Since Jews have experienced similar community violence and oppression across generations, we have the tools to educate white people about racism so that Black people don’t have to carry that labor. We have an understanding of mourning the result of large-scale hatred, so we can hold space and take on some of the work. All the while, we must recognize that Black people who are also Jewish carry the weight of thousands of years of this trauma, without specific hashtag activism to support support them.

White Jews owe black people reparations because we’ve had a hand in racism and have benefited from it. White Jews should be a source of compassion and a proponent of social change in support of all Black people with direct donations, emotional energy, and sharing the intergenerational healing we’ve learned from our story-telling traditions. Tikkun Olam DOES mean that not only do Black Lives Matter, but that any other viewpoint is against Jewish ethics and therefore, a Jewish issue.

Watering the Roses in Times of Crisis

Art by Lee Anna Fitzgerald

Archiving Rose Water Magazine was a tough decision in 2017. One of the motivating reasons we decided to archive our content and break from publishing new things was because our mission got messy as our country turned into a parody of itself. In 2017, it felt like our choices were to be an anti-Tr*mp reporting machine or pump out feminist playlists, and neither felt like it did anything but send waves into an echo chamber. So, with 4 years of viral articles, power-fueled art, and quippy feminist thought: we shut down new submissions so we didn’t erase our impressive legacy.

There have been many reminders since 2017 that our words have carried real weight. Speaking for myself, I know my knowledge has been forever enriched by our diverse writers and artists. Our articles and creations are still being shared as people discovering feminism that they connect with for the first time.

But some things have changed.

Things have changed for us because some things have remained exactly the same. Rose Water Magazine has always been proud to hold an anti-racist, intersectional feminist stance. Though, without new work being published, it feels like we’re looking away from the growing white-nationalist sentiment that’s insidious in America’s systems.

We were privileged to be able to step away from the project when our voices were tired of being carried on their own.

While the idea of opening up submissions again had floated to the forefront of my mind several times, no calling seemed as pertinent as the effort to support the protests for racial justice happening in cities all over the US. I could share articles we’ve written from years ago that address racism and police brutality, but it feels like an empty gesture not to be active in anti-racism.

I’ve been reminded this Spring season that roses can be almost completely destroyed, but with a little watering and attention, they will bloom beautifully with resilience. Our magazine, once bursting with feminist content, has been silent for too long. It’s time to water the roses for seeds of change to grow.

We will not be complacent when faced white supremacy. We will not turn our eyes from blatant or micro aggression. By using the power of words and art, we aim to take on the energy to recognize and educate on the many -isms that continue to plague our world.

Our contributors believe in new waves of feminism, which includes discourse on racism, body autonomy, rape culture, fat politics, and inclusive trans positive and sex positive women’s empowerment. As introduced in the 4th wave, Rose Water Magazine understands that the internet and social media is a prime component in sharing discourse and inspiring change.

In June 2020, we are declaring a new commitment as we begin publishing again:

We will donate all proceeds to featured organizations and charities that uplift and support marginalized people. The goal is to make a donation every month to a different organization. You can nominate a charity or org by emailing their info to RoseWaterMag@gmail.com.

For the month of June, we will be donating all our proceeds from ad revenue and direct donations to Black Visions Collective. Black Visions Collective is a black, trans, and queer-led organization that is dedicated to creating long-term change, with a focus on black liberation and healing.

It’s necessary to amplify black, brown, indigenous, trans, and gay voices. It’s necessary to amplify the work of marginalized groups.

Rose Water Magazine is dedicated to sharing diverse art. We are committed to being intersectional. Our goal is to make lasting change and to create a directory of educational work that leaves an empowering impact on our path.

Join us by contributing written work and art. You can submit work by emailing RoseWaterMag@gmail.com

Support us and feminist causes by donating. All proceeds will be shared with featured feminist orgs and charities. You can donate via PayPal by clicking here.

Solitary Confinement: Not Just a Black Man’s Problem

In a special report released on April 22, 2015, Juan E. Mendez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, found that prolonged solitary confinement (in excess of 15 days) is torture. This torture happens EVERY DAY in the United States. And in the state of New York, there are no limits on the total time a person can spend in isolated confinement. To make it worse, Black people represent about 60% of people in solitary. Mass incarceration is far more reaching that just police brutality-it includes these finger like systems meant to target people of color and the poor.

There’s something missing in all of these reports on solitary confinement-the high population of women of color and trans women of color placed in solitary for way more than 15 days (some have been in for more than 2 decades). Pregnant women and new mothers are often placed in solitary confinement, and trans folk are often sent there “for their own protection.” This population also suffers additional abuse from staff while in prison. Solitary confinement has the worst effects on our most vulnerable populations, and these stories need to be elevated at the same level as stories coming from men of color.

We can go even deeper into this issue. Many organizations commit to ending the school-to-prison pipeline, but there’s a similar issue that is rarely talked about-the sexual abuse-to-prison pipleline, which disproportionately effects girls of color and LGBTQ teens of color. A study released in 2015 revealed that girls who are sent into the juvenile justice system have typically experienced overwhelmingly high rates of sexual violence.The most common crimes for which girls are arrested (running away, substance abuse, and truancy) are also the most common symptoms of abuse. And these same girls are funneled into a system that continues to abuse them and retraumatize them. Since children or those with mental illness are disproportionatley placed in solitary (again, for their own well being), I can’t even imagine what this type of torture does to a young, undeveloped mind. The most vulnerable populations reported severe emotional and psychological consequences, including self-harm and attempted suicide.

Take a step further. These same individuals are then released into the community with exacerbated trauma symptoms, and with little exposure to the world outside of prison. The period immediately after release is when girls are at the highest risk of recidivism and serious harm, and reentry services are rarely, if at all, provided. This is a mental health crisis. This is a juvenile justice crisis. This is a women’s rights crisis. This is a LGBTQIA crisis. This is a racial justice crisis. When we are fighting to end mass incarceration, we have to attack this huge monster from every angle; from brutality in the streets to the ongoing violence that happens behind those bars; from the school system to the capitalist system; from mi barrio a tu barrio. To bring an end to these injustice systems, we need to center our movements around the most vulnerable and oppressed.

When we do this, we will win.

solitary confinement72
Artwork by Laura Wilson

Are you as angry as I am, and want to get involved? GO YOU!
Check out New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement if you’re in NY state.
And if you’re in Albany, NY check out Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration, which is a group dedicated to dismantling the injustice systems.
For other states that are fighting against torture, check out:
http://www.solitarywatch.com
http://www.aclu.org/torture-in-us-prisons
http://www.nycjac.org
http://www.correctionalassociation.org
http://www.boxedinny.org

Justice, Justice We Will Pursue

chanukahaction.org
Image from chanukahaction.org, Artwork by Zoe Cohen (zoecohen.com)

Happy Chanukah! Hanukah! Hanukkah! However you want to spell it, this Chanukah (I like this spelling) has a very special and deep meaning for what is happening in the world right now. Although the story of Chanukah is not real, it still has a lesson that can be applied to black/brown/poor/queer/minority people: change will come, we must keep fighting. We cannot give up hope.

The short story: The Jewish people of Israel were living under Greek rule, and were forbidden to practice Judaism or study Torah (this part of the story is true). Some continued to study Torah and continue tradition, but if they were visited by the Greek army, they would pull out their dreidels and pretend to play a game. Soon, the Maccabean Revolt happened, and The Maccabees, despite all odds, defeated the Greek armies and took back the Second Temple.

The victorious Jewish people decided to rededicate their Temple to G-d by lighting a holy menorah. They soon realized that they only had enough oil for one night, but the small amount of oil lasted for eight entire nights. A miracle happened there. So we celebrate this miracle, and we hope for the miracles that are to come. But hope alone will not bring us the freedom and justice we so deeply desire. We need to be like the Maccabees-it’s time to fight back.

And this lesson isn’t just in a made up story. It’s also in the Torah itself: “Justice, justice you shall pursue” (Deutoronomy 16:20). It is literally our calling as a Jewish people to stand with the oppressed. Like the stranger in our midst, it is our duty to support and help others. I believe that we, as well as MANY others, will join this fight for a better tomorrow, for all people. Many have tried and continue to try to eradicate us, with “us” being the black/brown/poor/queer/minority people of this Earth. Let’s continue this legacy of resilience and resistance.

We will fight for $15 and a union for all low-wage workers. We will fight to end police brutality, mass incarceration, and we will fight until black lives really do matter. We will fight to end gender-based violence. We will fight for the rights of immigrants and refugees and end all occupations. We will smash the patriarchy. We will fight until this oppressive system of capitalism is burned to the ground.

During this festival of lights, we celebrate our existence as black/brown/poor/queer/minority people. We are still here. They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.

And we won’t stop growing.

Women and Women of Color of Law Enforcement

Us against them. Them against us. Having a gun and a badge creates another category that’s almost untouchable; hard to get into fraternity, a cult, or just another gang that runs the street.

The Thin Blue Line.

A symbol of solidarity among police officers, the divide between civilians and criminals, and without them there would be chaos.

However isn’t always as easily clear-cut. Not always us versus them. Not everyone who wears the badge is simply a “brother in blue”.

My mother was a black woman who was officer and detective for the New York Police Department (NYPD) for 21 years. She worked in a predominately black neighborhood in the South Bronx. Black and woman placed her on an interesting side on that very thin blue line. It has also helped shape my world view.

She was extremely proud of the work she had done when she was an officer. For example, I remember the countless times she would pay for new winter coats for kids she would meet.

However my mother would recount a number of grievances.

There were times were higher-ups were openly racist, but treated her differently. She was a different kind of black. She wasn’t like the other kind of black folks they swore to protect in the community they enforced. She was educated. She was civilized.

Coded language for she wasn’t a nigger.

Whenever she had to correct them, that she was no less black then any other

It didn’t mater if she carried a badge and gun, she would never be part of the good ole boys club.

She was still other.

Even to the community she worked in she was other. There’s a strong mistrust between the black community and the police. As a black officer, you’re seen as an Uncle Tom or a coon.

Even with both these hurdles, my mother found a place to serve her community.

According to a report by the New York Times, only 16% of the NYPD is black. Compared to the fact that 23% of New York City residents are black.

As for gender, police departments still struggle in recruiting women. According to the most recent data by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 17% of the officers on the NYPD are women.

There’s also the sexism women in law enforcement have to deal with. A quick google search for woman police officers show photos categorized by level of attractiveness. Photos of scantily dressed women in Halloween costumes appear in the search.

With police brutality taking center stage, there have been arguments that hiring more women officers could curb the abuse.

“Studies also show that female police officers are more inclined to view their job as a public service than men do and are better at communication, de-escalation and trust building — all hallmarks of community policing.”

Data shows women are less likely to discharge their weapons. They’re more likely to use deescalating techniques where violence is rarely used.

Hiring more women cops isn’t the solution.

Using the death of Freddie Gray, one of the officers charged was a black woman, Sergeant Alicia White.

After the brutal deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos last December, there has been a trend on Facebook of people turning their profile photos to a graphic of a thin blue line between two black lines. There is also the #BlueLivesMatter hashtag, a direct response to the popularity of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Similar to the #AllLivesMatter, supporters of the police believe #BlackLivesMatter means anti-cop.

Completely disregarding the numbers of people killed by police.

Currently 770 people have been shot dead by the police this year. 28 of them black and unarmed. At least 70 people have been shot and killed by police across the United States within the past 30 days, according to Washington Post data.

Just this year, 98 police officers have died in the line of duty. There has been an outcry that there’s been a war on cops, because of a few very high-profile police deaths. Yet statistics show 2015 is in fact shaping up to be one of the safest years for law enforcement in a generation. The lost of a life, cop or civilian is still a tragedy in itself.

People are quick to say not all cops are bad. This is true. I know plenty of great cops, including my mother. Responding to the onslaught of police brutality, with a “what about the good cops” ignores the issues. The relationship between the community and law enforcement needs to change. Starting with the separatist language used by police officers. The Thin Blue Line needs to be eradicated. As collective, the dialogue needs to change from division to unity.

#ZacharyHammond and Why #AllLivesMatter Just Means Anti-Black

Zachary Hammond was a 19-year old unarmed white teenager who fatally shot by a police officer in his car during a drug bust in South Carolina back in July.

His family is asking, where is the outrage? Where are the protests? The national attention? The media? The trending hashtag?

This comes amid heighten scrutiny over police shootings and over zealous policing in the United States. This month was the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was a black unarmed teenager who was fatally killed by police officer Darren Wilson. His death, along with the countless other black men and women who were killed by police, sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

In response to the growing movement, #AllLivesMatter was a hashtag created to show that it wasn’t just black people being killed by the police. Not necessarily an organized movement, but more of a knee jerk response to media attention of black lives killed by law enforcement.

The family of Zachary Hammond attorney says race is almost certainly playing a role in why there hasn’t been any national outcry for his death.

“It’s sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen…The hypocrisy that has been shown toward this is really disconcerting.”

But many activists in the #BlackLivesMatter movement disagree with the family’s attorney statements. A quick twitter search of #ZacharyHammond show that the majority of the people who made his name a trending topic and eventually bought national media attention where black activists in the #BlackLivesMatter camp. Not too many #AllLivesMatter activists tweeting about the death of Zachary Hammond until after his name gets some media attention. Again, as a knee jerk response and attempt to call out #BlackLivesMatter activists.

#AllLivesMatter doesn’t mean what it stands for. It’s a derailment for a movement that not only supports the lives of black people, but the lives of all disfranchised. It was a movement for even Zachary Hammond.

#AllLivesMatter just means anti-black.

For many white people in America, white is the default. MTV tried to make white millennials think about what it means to be white in America in their documentary White People, but in failed to really dig deep in the concept of whiteness. The elephant in the room is that because many white people don’t see themselves as a racial collective unless it’s by ethnicity (per say Italian-Americans), they won’t go out protesting for the death of one white unarmed teenager. For many white people, they’ve never had to be the spokesperson for their race. Zachary Hammond is just another teenager who was killed by police and not a stereotype or a statistic. He was the “exception”. Christian Taylor and Sandra Bland were the “rules”.

All lives should truly matter, but competing over trending hashtags and derailing activism is not the solution. According to the Washington Post over 585 people where shot by the police this year. 24 of them were black and unarmed. The real question we should be asking is why are the people we pay to protect us, killing so many people?

But Where Are All The Feminists?

By now you have probably heard about or watched what happened in McKinney, Texas. You’ve seen the horrific images of a teenage girl, Dejerria Becton, in her bathingsuit, being pinned to the ground and assaulted by a police officer at a pool party. The first time I saw it, I was so upset that I had to take a couple of hours of self care. This shows even if you get invited to a party and a person of color, you still won’t be accepted.

image

The community of McKinney is outraged. Communities everywhere are condeming the officer’s actions in the height of tensions between police and people of color. But where are all the feminists??

I have heard nothing from feminist organizations such as the National Organization for Women (NOW) or the Feminist Majority Foundation. No statement, no publishings, nothing. These organizations should have been the first to show support for Dejerria, but they have suddenly disappeared. Should we be surprised? These organizations are entrenched in white feminist ideals. There is a very disturbing message here: we care about women’s rights, but really only white women.

Your silence is deafening.

Your feminism is clearly not intersectional, and I will have nothing to do with it. I cannot even imagine the trauma that Dejerria had to cope with. But on top of it, there is the underlying message that we don’t care about black and brown girls, even when their rights are violated on video. We are told that, if it does not bother white women then it really doesn’t matter at all. There is a war against girls of color in America, perpetuated by white women (and others). It’s time to do better.

Artwork by Marcus Prime

#blacklivesmatter

Upon the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson who shot unarmed teenager Mike Brown, the hashtag #blacklivesmatter has reappeared all over social networking sites. The hashtag originally started with the unjust killing of teen Trayvon Martin, and with each new black life unfairly lost, it comes up again. The hashtag is a call to action or reaction against the perpetrators of the crime. However another hashtag that seems to be taking the center of attention away from #blacklivesmatter has appeared. That hashtag is #alllivesmatter.
Although all lives do matter, it is imperative that #alllivesmatter stops and #blacklivesmatter is the main hashtag when discussing events such as what’s happening in Ferguson, the Eric Garner case, John Crawford, Tamir Rice and many more black lives lost. #alllivesmatter takes that attention away. It has already been proven that white lives matter; they have been running the world for centuries. It is now time to acknowledge the power and meaning of black lives. It is not white lives that are left in the middle of the street for hours. It is not white lives that are shot multiple times or are killed without being brought justice. It is not white lives that are the victims of a systematic oppression.
From multiple sources, it has been noted that one black person every twenty-eight hours is killed unjustly by the police. This year alone the following names come to mind: Mike Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Rumain Brisbon, and Darrien Hunt. There are probably more, but this is what the media has mainly focused on. All of these men were unarmed and innocent. There was no threat to anyone’s lives. There are also numerous women who go through this as well, so do not think this solely impacts black men. Some of the women include Tanesha Anderson, Rekia Boyd, Aiyanna Jones, and Miriam Carey.
Black lives matter because African American people and white people are treated very different in the United States. This is systemic. People of European descent with lighter skin have privilege over descendants of Africa whether they realize it or not. Though today’s generation may have never owned slaves, they still benefit from it. The American Psychological Association (APA) published an article this year that found that white cops over-estimated a black child’s age by up to four and a half years and also found them the least likely to be innocent of committing a crime. Black children are being dehumanized before they even get a fair chance.
As the #blacklivesmatter website states, “This is not a moment, but a movement.” Join the movement. Be in solidarity with black people in this hard time, but do not let your voices overpower theirs.

http://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

http://bossip.com/1014238/10-black-women-killed-by-police/8/

http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/03/black-boys-older.aspx