Things have been popping off in North America with the recent executions of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Alva Braziel. These modern day lynchings have been a form of preserving the basis of the American infrastructure—the murder of black people reasserts the power that the police, the tainted judicial system, and the legal enterprise hold onto.
The geographical distance between the multiple murders indicates that this is not merely a coincidence or a fluke within one citywide police system-- it is institutionally engrained. The Washington Post says that 381 of 1,499 people murdered by police from 2015 to the present were black. The Guardian reports that 442 of 1,702 people murdered by the police from 2015 to the present were black. Fatal Encounter has counted from January 2000 to present that 2,600+ people of the 14,042 individuals who were killed during police interactions were black. Though these numbers vary, it is inarguable that there is an attack on black lives.
Black folks have been arguing for years that there is modern day genocide of their people. It is disheartening that people of color have only recently decided to listen—probably because we decided that we needed visual evidence instead of listening to the truths that black folks spoke. Black folks are part of the reason that South Asians have an inkling of respect within the North American standard. They were the galvanizers of civil rights efforts that paved the way for equality for people of color. They put themselves on the frontlines so that people of color were finally considered citizens. And now that South Asians have made it in many ways economically, politically, academically, etc., we have decided to distance ourselves from blackness as much as possible-- It is truly disgusting how selfish and inhumane we are being.
I considered what I could do as an Eelam Tamil person in Canada and how South Asian folks could use our privileges in order to help end police brutality. It is time to stop distancing ourselves from blackness because it is inconvenient or unattractive or because we have been conditioned to see it as improper. Here’s what I came up:
Educate at the dinner table. Talk to your South Asian family about anti-blackness, what they say and do to perpetuate anti-black racism, and how it unfolds in the American landscape. You have power in your voice, I promise. It might not seem like it, but I promise all that educating you’ve done for yourself can be used to teach your mom or dad or aunties talking crap about their sister-in-law’s cousin something.
Record police conflict. If you see something happening between police and civilians, pull out your phone and document it ASAP. This can serve as evidence during trials.
DO NOT post violent images/recordings of police interactions with citizens. If you do, try to make sure it’s not on autoplay and post a trigger warning. Black folks don’t need trauma replayed over and over on their social media.
Be kind. You don’t know what people are going through or how they are responding to the events around the world.
Believe what black folks have to say and listen.