home Featured A call to value Black life instead of fearing white death

A call to value Black life instead of fearing white death

Image: The man who shot and killed 5 police officers and wounded 7, Micah Xavier Johnson.

By Cosette L. Hampton

According to American reports on Fox News, American police forces in Detroit, Michigan arrested one Black man on Saturday, July 9th and are searching for another for posting tweets of support for Micah Xavier Johnson, the Black brother who took the first step of true radical escalation in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement by killing 5 police officers and wounding 7. One of the tweets of the man who has been detained stated:

“Definitely a Black Hero
#DallasShooter Micah Johnson
Rest in Peace”

Since I’ve been here in South Africa engaging the Black First Land First (BLF) movement, I have watched my Black siblings in the United States bow their heads to white supremacy and the police officers that uphold and protect white control in fear. I’ve watched them first denounce violence against police officers while in the same sentence denounce the killing of Black people by police officers, as if the two can be divorced.

Black Americans are dehumanizing themselves because of the way we have been socialized to value white life more than our own by denying ourselves the most basic, natural response to violence: violence. It can be said that for this same reason, American slavery persisted for over 400 years as Blacks were beaten, starved, raped and lynched on plantations with hundreds of Black people manned by a handful of whites. With 1 out of every 9 Black men rotting in American jails today, usually because of convictions resulting from drugs that the government has funneled into Black communities, the same can be said for us regarding modern day slavery.

Before American news outlets reported the Dallas shootings, Black people were ready to go out into the streets and riot, shut down white-owned stores, malls, and other white institutions in protest of the murder of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by the police. However, the shootings of the police have now not only been used to diminish the willingness of Black people to do peaceful (much less radical) protests, as well as declare the whole Black Lives Matter Movement as a brigade of terrorists, but it has also been used to incarcerate people who openly support Micah X. Johnson and dissuade other potential supporters from being open about it.

In a nation where Black people are 13.4% of the population and majority-White police forces have no problem putting guns in the mouths of Black people and using pictures of Black people as shooting targets, the fear is quite understandable and legitimate but their immense appreciation of White life is not.

Since the Dallas shootings, militarized police have poured into Black neighborhoods and brutalized them, instituting curfews and violating their rights of free speech in Detroit, Baton Rouge, Chicago, Dallas and many other cities. Regardless of how much we adopt respectability politics and advocate for the protection of so-called “Blue-Lives” (Blue Lives Matter policies declaring protests against police “hate crimes”), they will never advocate for a Black Lives Matter policy, or stand in front of Black bodies as protection and they never have. In the words of Mama Assata Shakur, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom,” and we must consistently struggle with each other, “woke” or not “woke,” regardless of the fear of white response, because we are already being killed off and enslaved daily by other means.

Furthermore, regardless of the minority-status of Blacks in America, if such small amounts of whites can take control of finances and governments in predominately Black countries like South Africa, then we can all do the same if we acknowledge and uplift our duty to fight not only against police, but the whole system of white supremacy.

Cosette L. Hampton is a Black Organizer from Chicago, IL within the Black Lives Matter Movement. She is currently in South Africa to work as an intern for the Black First Land First movement.

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