COLUMN: Black Lives Matter and Don’t you Dare Forget It

 Noah Pearson, Columnist

 Noah Pearson, Columnist

By Noah Pearson, Columnist

Follow them at @tbhimscared

For many of us, the assertion that black lives did not matter was made evident, or at least established as concrete fact on July 13, 2013 when George Zimmerman was acquitted for murdering unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

The state of black lives is apparent, abysmal, and it is the fault of complacency with oppression.

Since then, the police and local judicial systems across the country have been sure to remind us of this fact. Whether you are twelve years old playing in a rec center, pinned down and caught on camera yelling “I can’t breathe,” or a terrified teenager asking why a grown man has been following you on your way home from school for some time now it is a widely celebrated fact that your life does not, in fact, matter.

So much so that in the wake of the murder of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, a movement simply stating that black lives matter baffled White Americans across the country until they found it necessary to counterprotest.

Black lives don’t matter so much that despite the televised cries of weeping mothers, it is indeed the fault of Jordan Edwards, the child yet to receive a high school diploma, for getting shot.

Black lives don’t matter so much that despite complying with a police officer’s orders to reach into his wallet to retrieve his ID, Philando Castile is at fault for tricking that officer into thinking he was pulling a gun.

Black lives don’t matter so much so that at EC the usage of the N-word and the proud dawning of Blue lives matter flags are common and unquestioned practice.

The fact of the matter is that many students at EC are comfortable with the ongoing slaughter of black people at the hands of the police.

While many have not been personally behind the trigger, eye-witnesses to the crime, or even among the N-word using Blue lives matter group, the silence when another black person is slain by a cop, or the silence when our colleagues openly support the actions of the

aforementioned murderer is the same as being one of them.

Blue lives matter is a movement dedicated to eradicating the perspective of a population of people living in constant fear of those sworn to serve and protect. It is trivializing at best, and outward anti-black hatred at worse.

Who is even more at fault, is the observer. The friend afraid of political conversations who might even be uncomfortable, but finds it more convenient to accept the racist association of their peers than to do what is right in correcting them.

Black history month is coming to a close. This month EC has seen a variety of cultural events sponsored by the Black Student Union, the organizers of the Intercultural Lecture Series, and even black alums associated with the Mu Mu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

Despite this past year being one of the most exhaustive years for black students and black people nationwide, participation from those who claim to be allies has not increased and arguably has diminished.

Following tragedy, there are many ready to tweet #blacklivesmatter and to #sayhername, but when real actual black people on this very campus express an issue with the language or actions of our “allies” and their friends, we are met with closed and often frustrated ears.

Allow this to serve as a challenge. Black Lives Matter. Don’t Forget it.

If that message rings true for you, which it should, then don’t think that sometimes it is ok to act as if they don’t.

If you claim #blacklivesmatter, but allow your friends to throw that black, white, and blue American flag on the back of their pickups then you have forgotten, and you have failed us.

If you claim #blacklivesmatter, but are more comfortable with your white friends saying the N-word than correcting them, then you have forgotten, and you have failed us.

If you claim #blacklivesmatter, but any action following that statement is too much to handle, that any personal sacrifice isn’t worth committing, then you have forgotten and you have failed us.

All of us are witnesses. When black people are executed by the police, that execution is broadcast all over our personal networks. What matters is the kind of witness we chose to be. We can stand up and put our money where our hashtags are, or we can be silent and complacent. Just know that silence is violence. If you’re not mad, you’re not paying attention. If you’re silent, you have forgotten, and you have failed us.