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By: Sumaiya Rehman
June 1, 2020
Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, George Zimmerman, Louisville Police, and the Minneapolis Police. Should I continue naming the White men and organizations who have killed our African American brothers and sisters? Should I even say their names? These are the men who have committed hate crimes against Black people who have done nothing wrong. Ahmaud Arbrey, shot and killed by father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael for going on a jog. Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin shot and killed for wearing a hoodie while holding a bag of skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea. Breonna Taylor, killed by Louisville police after being shot even before their arrival. And the most recent, George Floyd, publicly suffocated by a Minneapolis officer kneeling on his neck while he lay face down on the floor, crying for his Mama. When will America stop killing people for the color of their skin? When will the suffering from the stereotypes that exist in today’s society go away and allow us to live in peace? When will we become one nation with liberty and justice for all? The color of your skin should not allow anyone to treat you differently than a White man is treated. It’s disgusting. Whether you believe it or not, whether you’ve researched it or not, White privilege is real. It’s here today. It looms over us.
White privilege doesn’t mean your life has not been hard. It means that your skin color is something that makes it easier to live and exist freely. White privilege is the most enduring thing in history, even though privilege exists in many forms within society. It exists outdoors. When being White, you are likely to be in a position of higher power compared to other races. You’re more likely to be given the job easily when going to an interview. You are treated as the superior race.
Let’s take a look at NFL San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. A Black man who took a knee during the national anthem in memory of those who we have lost against police brutality. If we look at the most recent death that has been publicized, we’re looking at George Floyd. I’m sure you’ve seen the picture around the internet-- a picture of Kaepernick kneeling on the football field during the Star Spangled Banner, right next to a picture of the White male officer, Derek Chauvin who choked Floyd to death while keeping his left knee on his neck. It’s a wide topic actually. It’s debatable whether it is appropriate to take a knee during America’s national anthem that recognizes the soldiers who have died for this country. But are we wrong if we say that African Americans were amongst those who existed back then? Is it wrong to say African Americans are people too? People who have fought and faced the war, and along with the rest of America-- who fought for our country? Is it wrong to say that?
As once said, you don’t know how someone feels until you’ve “walked two moons in their moccasins.” None of us can imagine what Trayvon Martin's mother must’ve felt like after realizing her son had been shot after trying to get himself a snack. We cannot begin to imagine what it must’ve been like to be Ahmaud, shot, and slowly dying in the middle of a street. We cannot imagine being shot in the stomach first then killed by police, the people who were supposed to protect you, minutes later. We cannot imagine what it must feel like, laying face down on the ground with the force of 200 pounds being pushed against us, our arms cramping because they have been pulled behind our back with our throat unable to gasp for air.
It is true that not all law enforcement is like this. We need to show these actions are unacceptable and that there will be consequences even if you are White. Murder is murder. There’s no changing that.
Thankfully, I was raised to have a voice. I was a talkative kid. And I am Muslim. I was raised by an immigrant mother who came to America in 1999. I was also raised by a strong, hardworking father who was born and raised in America. For my mother and all immigrants, it would be impossible for them to have come if there was no Civil Rights Movement. This is one of the many reasons we need to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement no matter what. Being Muslim has shown me the difficulty of being accepted in society. My family has the first-hand experience of religious discrimination embedded in our country after the horrific events of Sept 11, 2001. I’m not saying all people are the same. I’m not saying that all Whites are racist. But being Muslim has shown me the difficulty of being accepted in society because of what I have seen people like us go through. I am thankful to God for having been born and raised in a safe environment. I have not experienced what most Muslims in America go through, this being racism, oppression, and disrespect too. But just because I haven’t experienced it, doesn’t mean it’s gone unnoticed from me, right? I know that I have a voice. I have seen people like me, Muslims of all races, be treated terribly just because of their race and practice. And this makes me realize that my voice can make a difference.
What more can be said about this topic now? It is clearly hatred and racism in its purest form. Saying things isn’t enough. We watched Black men and women die in recent months. Hate crimes continue to grow. We must demand justice. If we are all truly in this together, let’s stop more of this from happening. We owe this to our African American brothers and sisters. We owe this to their community. Let us remember their names every day. Let us focus on the names of the victims rather than the killers. Let us focus on Ahmaud Arbrey. Let us focus on Trayvon Martin. Let us focus on Breonna Taylor. Let us focus on George Floyd. Let us focus on all the victims of racism and police brutality. Let us focus on the hate and racism in this country. Allow us to overturn this. We are the power of America. We are the voice of America. We, the people have the power to stand up against what we witness showing up on our social media feeds every month. Let us bring justice to the acts of injustice that happen in this country each day. Because the Hell we live in right now, that’s not us. Let us live with the doctrine of Liberty and Justice for all.
I am not Black, but I see you.
I am not Black, but I hear you.
I am not Black, but I mourn with you.
WAYS TO HELP:
This will provide you with all the necessary petitions, news, and ways to help the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The BLM Movement is NOT a trend! Continue to fight in as many ways as you can. The world needs you and thanks you for all that you do!
The official website for the BLM Movement