That was a phrase I wrote about six months ago that garnered a lot of controversy. People rushed to tell me how wrong I was. Countless amounts of people told me I was exaggerating, I was making things up, and that I was the racist one for pointing this out. However, that statement is one that I still stand behind to this day because it still holds true.
Just this morning there was a story about a white Dallas man who shot an 8 year old black child in the face while he was playing tag outside his apartment complex. This story isn’t an outlier unfortunately. There are so many stories of white people deeming Black children a threat or nuisance and either assaulting or killing them.
However, every time something like this happens, it get dismissed as an “isolated incident.” We get told over and over that it was just one person doing something horrible and there’s no pattern involved. When we try to point out that things like this have happened before, and the continued dehumanization of Black children in the media contributes to it, we’re told that we are “imagining things.” Meanwhile, the media tries to understand and humanize the killer while demonizing the victim. The most famous example of this to date is the Trayvon Martin case.
Anyone who paid even the slightest bit of attention couldn’t help but notice the character assassination carried out by the media and society at large on Trayvon, and later Rachel Jeantel. People were quick to brand him a thug, gang member, and threat to George Zimmerman. Lies were spread about how stole from the convenience store he went to and how he was armed when he confronted Zimmerman. Pictures were spread on the internet of “Trayvon” wearing a grill and with tattoos, but it was soon proven those pictures weren’t even of him.
Rachel Jeantel, a woman who speaks three languages better than I can speak one, was called ghetto, combative, and uneducated. People, both Black and white, made fun of her weight, her hair, the way she spoke, and her skin tone. Society was ready to assume so many things about Trayvon and Rachael simply because they were Black teenagers. Even though all those assumptions were proven false they still persist to this day.
Things like this happen on a daily basis, both on the national scale and in our day to day lives. So six months after I first said it, that statement still rings true. In some ways, I feel the need to expand it. Black children, Black teenagers, and even Black adults have no value in the eyes of White America. We are, at best, an inconvenience and at worst an outright threat to their way of life.
- Gun Violence Leading Cause of Death of Black Children (newamericamedia.org)
- What The Zimmerman Verdict Tells Blacks In America: Black Children Are Not Children (mintpressnews.com)
- Black Adults Need to Stop Spewing Anti-Black Rhetoric to Children (theroot.com)
- Under the radar epidemic: Young children caught in the crossfire of gun violence (thegrio.com)