Kabria (right) and sister, Caitlin (left) protesting

Feature by Kabria Dame

I was asked to write this paper a week ago, but during that time I was very angry, scared, lost, numb. I did not know how to put exactly how I felt onto paper. I wanted to make sure that the people reading this not only hear me, but feel me. I wanted to make sure that my words in this particular essay are going to matter to someone. So I took a little extra time to continue to observe everything going on in the world. I took time to educate myself more, along with educating others, and in doing that I got to hear other peoples’ points of view on the matter — and I got to share my own.

I want to first start off by explaining “Black Lives Matter” because people seem to be confused by this saying. No, I am not saying Black lives matter more, I am saying Black lives matter (also) because some people think that they don’t and that’s why I am here writing this today, that is why we are at war today. If you are a human being then you know that all lives matter, but all lives are not in danger right now. Saying “all lives matter” is diminishing everything that “Black Lives Matter” stands for. I am tired of hearing “all lives matter” right now, because all lives can’t matter until Black lives do.

I am honestly just tired. I’m tired of having to put “RIP” and “JUSTICE FOR” next to another name, I’m tired of fighting the same fight over and over again. I am tired of having anxiety and always worrying about my dad, brothers, cousins, and nephews because they are Black men in America and could possibly not make it back home.

I used to have talks with my little brother on what to do if a cop were to ever come up to him. I used to tell him to not resist, to listen and do everything he is told, to not reach for anything and to put his hands up. But I began to realize even if my brother does everything the police officer says, he will still be seen as a threat because he is Black. Even if he is unarmed, it simply does not matter if he has no weapon because his Blackness is seen as a weapon.

Everyone wants to be Black until it’s time to be Black. I say this a lot and what I mean by this is that Black culture is so prevalent in America. It’s something that everyone wants to be a part of whether people want to admit it to themselves or not. Black people have heavily influenced the music industry, movies, sports, hair, clothing style, dancing, comedy, and more. Black people are so creative and always starting new trends that everyone wants to take part in. The two highest paid male athletes are Black, they are Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. The two highest paid female athletes are also Black, they are Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka. The highest paid comedian is Kevin Hart. The most popular male artist of 2020 is Drake. What I am saying is everyone loves to take part in new dance challenges created by Black people, new hair styles, pay money to go to games and cheer on these Black athletes, listen to rap and R&B — and while listening to it for a split second wished they lived that lifestyle. But when the fun and games is all over and innocent lives are being taken, you are happy you are not Black. You are happy that you aren’t terrified of police officers, you are happy that you don’t have to worry about your loved ones every time they step out the door, you are happy that you don’t have to tell your loved ones what to do if a cop ever pulls you over, you are happy that your skin color is not seen as a weapon or a threat. You are happy and relieved that you don’t have to deal with the burdens that Black people have to deal with on a daily basis just because of our skin color.

I want to say to my Black men and women that we are only a threat because deep down they know we are so much more than thugs, animals, or ghetto. They know that we are smart, creative, loving, powerful, beautiful, leaders. We have such a heavy influence on this world and the power to change the world and that puts fear into their hearts. Their fear of us comes from insecurities in themselves. They want to keep us oppressed and see us fail and give up because they know exactly what we are capable of. We must do better, do better than they ever expected. We must keep pushing forward in a society that is meant to break us. We must keep fighting the good fight and in doing that we will win.

-KB

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