“And while African lions may be endangered, isn’t it time we admit that here in the U.S., Black lives are endangered, too?” –David Ferguson
Does that make you feel better knowing a White person said it and not just another “angry” Black person? I’m going to let you know right now that I don’t care either way. For once, you’re right. I am angry. Black lives are slain everyday at the hands of police, self-proclaimed neighborhood watchmen and people who claimed they feared their lives.
Would things have been different if the Midwestern dentist, Walter Palmer would have shot a Black person rather than Cecil the lion? Would there be Jimmy Kimmel tears? Outraged Facebook statuses from more people than people of color? Would there be an influx of donated funds to protect Black lives in the “wild?”
Whether in routine traffic stops, on a playground, or worse, at a place that sells guns while a Black man attempts to buy one, Black lives are taken. These officers of the law are paid to protect and serve. These days, they’re paid assassins.
Black people have cried, marched, hashtagged to fight against the obvious racial bias against us. President Obama couldn’t even hold his tongue anymore:
“Do not say that nothing’s changed when it comes to race in America — unless you’ve lived through being a black man in the 1950s, or ’60s, or ’70s. It is incontrovertible that race relations have improved significantly during my lifetime and yours, and that opportunities have opened up, and that attitudes have changed. That is a fact.
What is also true is that the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives — you know, that casts a long shadow. And that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on. We’re not cured of it.”
Palmer paid $55k to illegally poach an innocent king of the Zimbabwean forest. The world wept. The entire world, race aside, was and still are outraged. Kimmel got choked up over Cecil’s brutal murder. And while there are many of us who are fully aware that animals are innocent and defenseless and Cecil deserved to live, how come it took a lion losing its life for people to exercise humanity? On social media, many Black people, including Elon James suggested that maybe, “Black folks in America need to dress like lions. Then everyone will be sad when we’re murdered.”
When I found myself in the middle of a verbal fist fight on Facebook, I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to be doing with my time. Or my energy. I don’t have enough of either one of those these days to spare.
I could have ignored it, but the keyboard called my name like I was Meek Mill in the middle of the night.
One of my White friends shared the story of Jimmy Kimmel getting choked up over Cecil and proclaimed that Jimmy was the “man!” That’s fine. That’s what Facebook is for–it’s our opinions, thoughts, interests, all shared publicly.
So I responded publicly. “People are dying. PEOPLE.” The friend who initially wrote the status said nothing, but one of his friends–a White woman–responded to me. I wish I could give you the words verbatim, but I have since blocked her, so I can no longer see her responses, but it was something to the effect of: You need to use your own page for your negative comments. This is (my friend’s) page and he’s using it as a place to express sympathy for Cecil.
I snapped. I crackled. And I popped. The back and forth led to her proclaiming that all lives matter, even animal lives.
Saying Black lives matter doesn’t negate all other lives. All lives matter. But, we need the hashtag, the movement. It’s an effort to celebrate ourselves and fight against the untimely deaths that keep taking us out and White people want to take it as exclusionary.
White people–your slip, or rather, your privilege is showing.
Read the rest on Danielle’s personal blog, Rhapsodani.
Why Does Cecil The Lion Receive More Humanity Than Slain Black Lives? was originally published on hellobeautiful.com