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Still Seeking Justice

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While the anniversary of the killing of Mike Brown has come and gone, it seems as if we’re still seeking solace for not only his death, but the many that have come after him. While justice doesn’t seem anymore attainable than it did a year ago, there has definitely been a shift in the dialogue surrounding race relations in our country.

As race relations becomes the focal point of much of the conversation surrounding tragedies in America, there are a few narratives finding themselves at the table. Many of which that lead to a constant analysis and dissection of the messages and behaviors encouraged and promoted.

The world is taught to love and hate Black men in rapid succession, leaving them to struggle for recognition in a nation that constantly imposes their identity and character upon them. Some may argue that we live in a post-racial society, but recent events have proved that far too often race determines life and death consequences — consequences that our Black men and women are all too familiar with.

Nearly 100 African-Americans were killed by police in the first month of 2015 alone. Black bodies are becoming hashtags at astronomical rates, while their peers are expected to remain indifferent or silent altogether. We constantly have to prep for the next occurrence of living while Black in America. Even when moved to speak, African-Americans spend more time having to argue one if not all of the following issues: Black on Black crime in relation to death by a police officer, the angry Black woman narrative or how the victim somehow played a role in their own extinction.

Sadly enough, we’ve been conditioned to suffer in silence while other ethnicities have become completely desensitized to the perils striking our communities. Recently, someone of Facebook expressed that African-Americans should be granted a bereavement day whenever one of our own are killed. At first glance, the idea seemed a little extreme; then I recalled the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup on June 17, which also happened to be the evening of the Charleston church shooting. One would assume the conversations in the workplace the next day would be inclusive to that of expressing grief behind the fact that 9 individuals were gunned down while in a place of worship. Sadly, that was not the case for many conversations that I witnessed.

One could easily argue that history seems to be a nightmare in which we can’t wake up from. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently expressed “if we’re honest, for a lot of well-meaning, open-minded white people, the sight of a young Black man in a hoodie still evokes a twinge of fear.” Clinton’s statement proves that African-American men and boys constantly struggle for equal recognition in a nation that is eager to impose an identity upon them. Black males are a vivid representation of the gender and race divide we observe in American politics and unfortunately, they are paying the ultimate price.