Be Safe My People

Image: African American protesting police shootings
Image: African American protesting police shootings
African American protesting police shootings

I KNOW that all too often, I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders but the events that have unfolded across the pond have left me deeply disturbed to the point where I was momentarily unable to express myself for fear of causing offence…as they say, one can never take back words spoken in anger.

The recent shootings in the U.S, which have sparked anger and calls for justice from black people around the western world, definitely took its toll on me and that happened for a number of reasons.

My friends and family, well some of them, have even come down on me and have lambasted me in private, of course, for being too emotional and for getting worked up over something that I have no control over which doesn’t even affect me.

On that note, I would like to point out the fact that as a mother of two children, I strongly disagree with the statement that this does not affect me directly…The world is my children’s oyster and I don’t expect them to spend the rest of their lives in St. Lucia without getting the opportunity to explore the rest of the globe. So yes, it does affect me directly because it makes me sick that this issue exists which could mean imminent danger for my prince and princess.

Also, the last time I checked, there are thousands of St. Lucians living in that country…now I love my people almost as much as I love my country and whilst I am thankful that so far, they have not fallen victim to this issue on such a large scale, it is a frightful problem that it is a possibility for them.

Regardless of me being scolded, this hasn’t stopped me from being extremely vocal on social media because I truly believe that whilst my words will not change the price of coffee, I’m letting it be known that I think enough is enough and that I am extremely worried about my people.

With that said, let me go back to the initial issue that I was leading to in my heading.

I am growing more worried by the day as a result of the mounting tensions in the U.S involving black people, primarily men who are being targeted and “executed” by lawmen because of their colour.

Now I could have sugar coated or blanketed that last paragraph, but quite frankly, I don’t have the strength to sweeten this bitter pill…I’m calling a spade a spade!

I obviously am not the only one doing so, in fact even the Bahamian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has issued an official Travel Advisory to its people warning them, especially the young males to “exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police … Do not be confrontational and cooperate.”

Now surely one cannot dismiss this as paranoia can one? With the statistics staring us in the face quite blatantly, the question should be, how could one not be worried?

According to mappingpoliceviolence.org, this issue has long passed out of hand:
• Police killed at least 102 unarmed black people in 2015, nearly twice each week. (See which police departments were responsible for these deaths)
•Nearly 1 in 3 black people killed by police in 2015 were identified as unarmed, though the actual number is likely higher due to under-reporting
•37% of unarmed people killed by police were black in 2015 despite black people being only 13% of the U.S. population
•Unarmed black people were killed at 5 times the rate of unarmed whites in 2015
•Only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime, and only two of these deaths (Matthew Ajibade and Eric Harris) resulted in convictions of officers involved. Only 1 of 2 officers convicted for their involvement in Matthew Ajibade’s death received jail time. He was sentenced to one year in jail and allowed to serve this time exclusively on weekends. Deputy Bates, who killed Eric Harris, will be sentenced May 31.

With these figures, I can’t help but be scared for my fellow St. Lucians living in that country.

How the tides have changed eh…the land of milk and honey has now turned into a war zone with the war launched against “us” because of our melanin.

Ever since the police killings of two African-American men earlier this week in Louisiana and Minnesota, which were swiftly followed by the killings of five police officers and the wounding of seven others by a black shooter, hell bent on revenge after he opened fire during a rally in Dallas, all hell has seemingly broken loose nationwide. This has left everyone on edge and feeling particularly trigger happy.

I’m not even going to delve too deeply in the racial aspect of this grave issue because I will not be able to stop talking but it is hurtful to say the least that innocent black people, centuries after the abolition of slavery, are still forced to live in fear and walk on eggshells simply because they were born with black skin.

Meanwhile, thanks to centuries of systematic racism and mental programming, we also have to live in fear of each other as black on black crime over there and right here continues.

Now don’t get me wrong, let it be known that white on white as well as white on black crime is way more common than black on black, but the fact remains that the issue seems concentrated on the fact that it is rampant in predominantly black communities.

Now tell me, what do you expect when most black people are left with no choice but to cluster up in small communities where they are left neglected with little work opportunities, poor and neglected educational teachings and prospects as well as the constant brainwashing, both blatant and subliminal, teaching them to hate themselves and each other with images of poverty and savagery? Of course you will get people acting exactly how their oppressors want them to act…like savages, and so they grow up with little regard for their lives as well as the lives of their people.

It is with that said that I would like to ask my St. Lucian people to please be extremely wary and cautious whilst you are out there just trying to survive.

Regardless of what the ignorant and willfuly blind will try to tell you and no matter how much they will try to convince you that it is an exaggeration and that the problem is being blown out of proportion, don’t be fooled and don’t become too complacent or comfortable.

I am not asking you to live in fear, I am simply asking you to be aware of your surroundings and to avoid any situation that might attract such events.

As a patriotic St. Lucian, it would absolutely break my heart if I heard on the news that the latest black victim of hate in America was one of my own. Please be careful out there my people.

Now let me turn my eyes towards the continuation of violent crime taking place right here in my neck of the woods…that of course is for another day and time.

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