On Thursday, a judge acquitted officer Caesar Goodson of murder and subsequent charges of manslaughter, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault, and misconduct in office in the death of Freddie Gray.
Gray’s death made headlines in 2015 after he was arrested for fleeing police arrest. He fell into a coma after being thrown into the back of a police van and taken for what was referred to as a “rough ride.” Gray died from a spinal injury he sustained while in the back of the van.
Earlier today we posted this meme to Twitter:
— Bipartisan Report (@Bipartisanism) June 23, 2016
We aren’t the first online news platform to post such a photo; in fact, it’s made its way around the #BlackLivesMatter community. So our experience, which will be detailed below, is probably one that occurs all too often.
We received countless tweets from Twitter users who felt the need to lash out in response to the harmless meme with vile and disgusting comments toward black men and women.
The responses were heartbreaking, given the fact that the man responsible for Freddie Gray’s death will go unpunished for his crimes.
If you’re privileged enough to have doubted for a second whether racism still exists in this country, allow this to be proof that it’s certainly alive and well:
Maybe your daddies should stop being criminals and take care of their kids.
— Justice 099 (@Justice_099) June 23, 2016
who is stupid enough to fall for this. A few hundred killed by LEO, millions without daddies. Your daddies kill each other.
— luvmycountry (@luvmycountry48) June 23, 2016
Referencing the tired trope of the promiscuous black woman, these trolls didn’t even try to conceal their racism and sexism:
And then there were comments like this:
@JimbauxsJournal follow the rules and you don't go to jail. Get pulled over, be polite and have nothing to hide and off u go
— Blog5 (@Blog5five) June 23, 2016
conduct yourself like a normal hard working citizen. Respect others and respect yourself & you will be fine
— Blog5 (@Blog5five) June 23, 2016
It’s unclear whether the Twitter user was white, but let’s assume for the argument’s sake that they were. Their tweet shows the world of difference between the lived realities of white and black people in America.
‘Respect others and respect yourself & you will be fine.’
That’s all fine and dandy if you’re a white person, more specifically a white man. But the realities of black folk look very different from the realities of their white counterparts. Not only do they lack many opportunities taken for granted by white people, but they lack adequate representation within mainstream media and society. They also experience racial profiling by police, often lack access to basic necessities such as health care, and fear for their safety on a daily basis. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
So when racist, ignorant bigots take to Twitter to spew their hate, you’re damn right we’re going to call them out on it.
We posted the photo for a reason: because black men are disproportionately targeted by police. Because black men are most likely to become victims of police brutality. Because society blames black men and women for a system that disproportionately disadvantages them. Because we somehow expect black people to work twice as hard for half as much and to be okay with it. Because young black men grow up without fathers, with single mothers who often have little support. Because our society doesn’t believe black lives matter. It’s a cycle that seems to perpetuate, and in turn, young black men are blamed for not having a father to “guide” them if they get into trouble.
When does it end? How many black people have to die before America gets it?
Bipartisan Report believes #BlackLivesMatter.