By: Nanis Rodriguez
There is something to be said about the fact that a man can be murdered, that it can be recorded, and that the men who murdered him can walk free for two months. Ahmaud Arbery was murdered on February 23rd by two white men, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMicheal. Ahmaud went out for a jog, something he did regularly, and was chased down my the McMichaels who purposely went after him with a revolver and shotgun.
This story is not unlike so many in our country, where Black men, women and children are murdered at the hands of white folks who seem to always have a story used as justification. It took over TWO MONTHS for the McMicheals to be arrested. Authorities had the grotesque video footage when it happened and did nothing. It took the circulation of this video, the retriggering of Black communities, the outrage of folx, for an arrest to happen. I have not watched the video. I cannot bring myself to do it. I am angry that this world needs “proof” of the murder of Black people before anything can be done.
I have a million thoughts about the continuous lynching of Black folx, and as I sat down to write this, I could not seem to get anything down. As a non-Black Latina, I take up a certain space in this world. So when I saw the call for submissions about this particular incident I sat for days with what my call to action really was. I did not want to tell the story for the sake of retelling the story. I did not want to try to explain the pain that was caused to Ahmaud’s family, or only describe the ways in which the circulation of the video without the consent of his family perpetuates the lack of autonomy Black folx have over their own lives, or remind folx that sharing a video without a trigger warning can cause harm to folx who experience violence daily. I did not want to take up space that was not mine to take, but I wanted to make sure that as a Woman of Color I was doing something to stand in solidarity with Black folx.
My call to action is this: my role, and our role, as non-Black People of Color, is to call out anti-Blackness when we see it. To center and make space for Black folx to tell their own stories, and to acknowledge that we are not needed to “interpret their pain” but we are needed to take a stand. We should not have to say “this happens to Brown folx” or “this could have happened to someone I know” in order for us to feel the urgency to do something about it. This is happening. Black folx are being murdered, almost daily, and we have to do something about it. The root of this violence is in the anti-Blackness that runs rampant in this country, and as people of color we are either against it or complicit. Not sure how to start or what to do next? Here are some of my suggestions:
- Call out anti-Black comments when you hear them
- Don’t use the N-word if you are not Black (period)
- Let Black folx share their pain and anger without asking them to calm down or “playing devil’s advocate”
- Do not ask Black folx to educate you
- Donate to Black led organizations. Here is a list of my favorites:
We must make it clear that we stand with Black Lives and that we will fight white supremacy, because we understand that it is not just about what affects us, or what could affect us, but because we must rid ourselves of racism in order to fight for justice.
What do you think? Let us know on Twitter @Milwaukeno