If there was any sleep at all, it wouldn’t have been a good sleep in Black communities last night in North America and beyond. Breonna Taylor’s family definitely didn’t sleep well. And Black women in particular ended the day reminded, once again, that there is a system in place and power that does not care about them. Here in Canada, that despair is shared by Indigenous people, especially Indigenous women who have marched alongside their Black allies, bonded by collective grief and generational trauma.
But how did the rest of us sleep?
My point is that when justice isn’t served, when a Black woman is killed as she’s sleeping in her own home, and when there is no accountability for her death, well, unless more of us have sh-tty sleeps – that is, until more of us, and not just those who are Black and Indigenous, start caring to the point of losing sleep, a metaphor for outrage and pain – it’s going to keep happening. It keeps happening because systemic racism is upheld by institutions who have no interest in actual freedom for everyone, just those who’ve always been able to enjoy it. And Black and Indigenous people have never been truly free in colonised spaces. Nor have other people of colour, like me who, yes, have enjoyed more liberties by proximity to whiteness but that’s really the ultimate con. Our privilege comes with a price – a bare minimum of social mobility in exchange for upholding the status quo. Some realise too late that those crumbs are only dispensed as sustenance as we continue to shoulder the feet of white power on our backs. Every time our legs start shaking they give us another cookie. Meanwhile they’re up there crushing an 80 course feast.
Black Lives Matter. But Breonna Taylor’s life didn’t matter to the police who killed her. And it doesn’t seem like her death matters either, not to the people who’ve decided that no one will be held accountable for it. This point was made much more eloquently by Dr Ibram X Kendi on Twitter:
To not indict the officers for murder is to claim #BreonnaTaylor killed herself. Racist America constantly kills Black people and then tells Black people we killed ourselves. Racism extends past death. But weâ€™ll never stop declaring that our lives matter, that our deaths matter.— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) September 23, 2020
Imagine having to declare that your life and death matter to the point of exhaustion? It has become labour for Black and Indigenous people to justify their humanity??? There are a lot of reasons to be tired. Having to prove that your life has value shouldn’t be one of them. Having to wait for others to start caring as hard shouldn’t be such a huge ask either.
Yours in gossip,