January 21, 2009, and Barack Obama, an African American, took the oath of President of the United States of America, and many declared the end of racism. But after watching the man, despite his grace and dignity, attacked for eight years straight. After watching the man have to prove he was an American. After watching the man who led the charge to discredit his citizenship ride a wave of hate and division to the White House in 2016 and his appointment of Jeff Sessions, who immediately took up the task of rolling back gains made in the battle for racial equality. After seeing case after case of police brutality go unpunished. After seeing people march through Charlottesville chanting racial epithets, it’s apparent racism was never over. It was merely simmering underground, waiting for the right person and the right time to show itself again. Don’t misunderstand as a country, we have made strides, and we are clearly in a better place now, but we still have a long road ahead of us, and there can be no doubt that there is a segment of the population, many who wield power, that really don’t care about us.
I am the victim of police brutality now.
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of hate.
You’re rapin’ me of my pride.
Oh, for God’s sake
I look to heaven to fulfill its prophecy…
Set me free
Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the Cleveland, Ohio, police officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, were not charged.
Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City police officer who held Eric Garner in a chokehold before his death in 2014, was not charged.
Some things in life they just don’t wanna see
But if Martin Luther was livin’
He wouldn’t let this be
On September 22, 2017, Trump called on all NFL owners to “fire” all protesting players. The president also referred to the protesting players as “sons of bitches.”
October 31, 2017, Papa John’s CEO and founder slammed the NFL, blaming the league’s “poor leadership” on the pizza chain’s sales slump. “We are totally disappointed that the NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation
Beat me, hate me
You can never break me
1967 – World champion boxer Muhammad Ali used his worldwide star power to stand against the Vietnam War by refusing to enlist in the military.
1968 – After winning gold in the 200-meter sprint at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Tommie Smith raised his fist in the air alongside his teammate and bronze medalist, John Carlos. As Smith explained to ABC Sports announcer Howard Cosell, “My raised right hand stood for the power in black America. Carlos’ raised left hand stood for the unity of black America. Together they formed an arch of unity and power.”
2014 – NBA teams broke dress code rules to protest police brutality, wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during warm-ups. The shirts referenced the last words of Eric Garner before he died at the hands of a police officer in Staten Island.
Beat me, bash me
You can never trash me
Hit me, kick me
You can never get me
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., May 3 1963- Fire hoses and police dogs were used here today to disperse Negro students protesting racial segregation.
Selma, Ala., March 7, 1965 – Alabama state troopers and volunteer officers of the Dallas County sheriff’s office tore through a column of Negro demonstrators with tear gas, nightsticks, and whips here today to enforce Gov. George C. Wallace’s order against a protest march from Selma to Montgomery. At least 17 African-Americans were hospitalized with injuries, and about 40 more were given emergency treatment for minor injuries and tear gas effects.
Tell me what has become of my rights
Am I invisible because you ignore me?
Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of shame.
When these are the institutions that govern us when black life is disposable, when black bodies are guilty before, and after being proven innocent when there is no recourse for injustice or even a belief that injustice has been done when these institutions actively work to push inequality, we are dealing with something much more dangerous than a personal beef with blackness. – Mychal Denzel Smith, the New York Times bestselling author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching
The 2016 election was also marked by low turnout, with tens of millions of eligible voters choosing not to participate at all. Yet, there has been relatively little discussion about the millions of people eligible to vote but could not do so because they faced an array of newly-enacted barriers to the ballot box. Their systematic disenfranchisement was intentional and politically motivated. In the years leading up to 2016, Republican governors and state legislatures implemented new laws restricting when, where, and how people could vote — laws that disproportionately harmed students, the poor, and people of color. In several instances, lawmakers pushing such policies explicitly said that their goal was to suppress voters who favor the Democratic Party.
All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us.
All I wanna say is that.
They don’t really care about us.
While most of the examples in this post were of African Americans, all people of color suffer from racism and discrimination, While those in the LGBT community also deal with discrimination every day. It’s November, election season; if you’re not registered, go out and get registered. Protest and calls for equality are friendly but only when our voices are heard at the voting booths can we really make a difference to those who really don’t care about us
Lyrics in italics from Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Really Care About Us.