If you shoot me or beat me to death, I want everyone to know that I did not commit suicide and that I followed all orders until my murder. I want the media to show pictures of me when I graduated high school, me when I entered college, good times with my friends, the birth of my baby sister. Do not photoshop my skin to look darker so I may appear more menacing because of the system's association of Blackness with crime. Do not dig into my criminal record; it is nonexistent. Do not plant drugs and weapons on my gushing corpse to frame me as the criminal. Do not investigate my family's records to draw the conclusion that I am the spawn of thugs.
I know you will eagerly look for reasons why I deserved to die. My blackness is a threat to your life, my melanin makes you trigger-happy. I know mainstream media will show my worst pictures, tell the world that a bullet through my chest was the best that could've happened. I know that whoever filmed my murder by badged thugs will be incarcerated, and those who march for me in outrage over the broken criminal justice system will be pepper sprayed, arrested, and labeled violent by the same media that justified my assassination.
All Lives Matter, except I am not a life to you, I am a Black body lying on the street in a pool of blood and will be swept under the rug—next story, same cycle. All Lives Matter, except my murderer will be given paid administrative leave at most, praise for protecting fearful sheep from the Black monster at least. My Blackness is a default, hence my fear and trauma are a part of me. My people were violently brought here and now those same oppressors are violently trying to get us out—turning Black bodies into red that will bathe the streets, except the media will tell you it is gold that gushes out of us as each bullet strikes. Gold like church chalices to bless white eyes and white lips with liquid amnesia, donning the blue gun holy in the name of Fascism, empty promises of an ivory utopia.
Blue Lives Matter, I am subjugated and a threat to the subjugator; criminalized, a threat to the weaponized and militarized. Dark skin a threat to triggers, tasers and beatings from the Blue. Funerals and parades over the gilded, blood-stained streets for the ones that wear their pants blue. Blue, born to blue mothers and blue fathers who taught them that Black must be eliminated. Blue, marionettes of a system that is white and cannot be tainted by black and brown. The Blue, who will tell you that tasering a young Native American girl is just; that "I can't breathe" equates to "Do your job more forcefully, tighten the chokehold;” that a broken taillight and notification of a license in an open carry state screams, "Shoot me now;" that selling CDs to make ends meet for your family means, "Knee me in the neck and brutally murder me."
To be Black is to be vulnerable to a world that sees me as just that—black—a black hole, a symbol of destruction and erasure, a void that will absorb the innocence of your flaxen-haired children, who will remember the image of the Black hand on the gun they saw on tv when they look into the void. A void that will send fear trembling through Blue even in the form of a twelve-year-old. The void will strip the Blue of all empathy. The void will strip me of my humanity. Black Lives Matter is a concept as foreign as the idea of a post-racial America; a concept as misconstrued as our mother’s tears over our corpses.
Officer, if you shoot me or beat me to death, I want everyone to know that my void is filled with blood as red as yours. I am filled with sentiments, bonds with my loved ones, and the burden of the violent and oppressive history of my people in this red-stained country that has turned a blind eye to my existence. I want everyone to know that I am five-fifths of an individual, each fraction belonging to me and only me, not to the white hands with the blue marionettes. Most of all, I want everyone to know that my life has value and my life matters for the sole fact that I am human and I do not deserve to die because of your intolerance to my pigment. My life matters. I am not a hashtag. I am not the stereotype you have attached to my Blackness.
Black Lives Matter. I will not stop echoing these four paramount syllables until the criminal justice system, the white hand with the blue marionettes, trembles with the realization that Blackness is to be protected, not massacred; until the Black and brown can revel in a safety and security that will heal our burdens of fear, trauma, and centuries of oppression. I will not stop echoing these four paramount syllables until I no longer have to fear for my life when I’m approached by the Blue who swore the oath to protect me.