This isn't my piece about the Baltimore Uprising. I've tried to pen it a few times, but can't bring myself to voice my opinion on the actions of others fueled by hurt and pain. The mere audacity…
I'll take another angle instead.
We now know that half of the arresting officers of Freddie Gray are black. Now, for me, this doesn't change anything. I seem to be in the minority, or I'm friends with the wrong people on Facebook.
The day that the names of the arresting officers were revealed I made the mistake of logging into Facebook. I tell you, I scrolled through the most unenlightened, propagandized, absurd statuses I think I've ever seen in my life that day. And the fact that people of color penned the statuses was disheartening.
Now, I never try to embarrass or discredit personal opinions, but there were far too many ignorant comments to not acknowledge. Seeing "friends" comment that the voices of blacks are now null because a few of the officers charged are black, and that black folks bring these issues upon them[our]selves pissed me all-the-way off.
I'm only going to say this one more time. The arresting officers being black does not hurt the case surrounding the Freddie Gray incident.
I shouldn't have to point this out.
I feel like we're all canny enough to understand that a black person committing a crime against another black person doesn't cancel out racism. Yes. You can “be black” and still have a disregard for, and be prejudice towards other black lives. It's called "self-hate.” It's real and ever-present, especially today.
Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, colored people, more specifically black Americans, are conditioned to hate being "black.” For the majority of black Americans, our family trees go as far as slavery.
American slavery was the single most destructive blow to our generational self-esteem. Our history books teach us that we originated from slavery, not from a lineage of African Kings and Queens. And this oppressive history haunts us today.
I'm not just making this up. You can open up any U.S. History book and read it for yourselves.
You can only imagine the effects that this could have on someone. There's no better way to explain it than to compare it to “crabs in a barrel.” A few, not all, black Americans have the "crab in a barrel" mentality. I'm not angry with them. In fact, I feel for them. They're not the culprits.
Who's the culprit, you ask?
Who put the crabs in the barrel?
Now, how this relates to Freddie Gray and the black arresting officers: If Freddie Gray were white, he'd more than likely still be alive. You see, black lives are disposable to most, especially when their fates are left in the hands of the law.
We're arrested more than whites, and a higher percentage of those arrests turn violent, or even deadly... Fast.
Now, if “being black” isn't valued and I, as a black American, internalize this, and begin to live my life with this in mind, why would I handle another black man with care?
We have to change the perceptions that human lives are measured on a totem pole, with black lives being towards the very bottom.
We chant "Black Lives Matter" because our country has historically treated us as "less than.”
Freddie Gray is just another example to why we need to keep fighting, and not let cases like this continue to be swept under the rug.
Must I remind you that we're ultimately fighting for basic human rights? We just want to live a life that's treated along the same lines as everyone else. We want to be able to have the freedom to make mistakes and the punishment not result in death.
I swear, I hate Facebook.
*** This piece was originally published on HHBMedia.com in May 2015