At this point in history, we now have more stateless people in the world more than ever before. Think about it, we have had advances in STEM, in the arts, in our every day lives for many people in the industrialized world. However, for some reason, we still cannot figure out how to make sure that no man, woman, child, or any other person is homeless or stateless. For some reason, we choose to see those who do not share our respective heritage, culture, customs as “foreign”, “strange”, or the “other”. Because too many in the industrialized world choose to see human beings as such and to dehumanize them.
However, what also cannot be ignored is the dehumanization of Americans in the United States. People of color struggle against systematic forces that force us to think twice before doing ordinary things. If you’re black or brown, you will likely face racism at some point in your life, not only racism directed at you by your neighbor but also racism in terms of systematic oppression. In recent days, Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police and was falsely accused of wielding a gun that he had a license to own and was unable to actually wield it while another officer involved in his murder took the gun out of his pocket. Mr. Sterling was only selling CDs in front of a convenience store at the time of his death. Yesterday, Philando Castille was murdered by a police officer at Falcon Heights, Minnesota during a routine traffic stop due to a busted taillight. When he reached down for his wallet, the police officer shot him numerous times as he “feared for his life” (paraphrasing) because Mr. Castille had a gun that he was licensed to own.
This is a double standard.
White men of privilege claim that murders would be stopped if victims had access to a gun, but for black men, access to a gun is perceived as a threat. There is no doubt that in the coming weeks, Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castille will be remembered in hashtags, outrage, and sadness. I would like to remember them with love. I love the hashtag #blacklivesmatter and, in my opinion, it is enough, because these two men were not the only two black men whose lives, in the last year, have been taken unfairly, too early, and leaving behind families. The rapper Drake spoke eloquently about relegating human beings into hashtags, and so to honor the memories of these two victims of police brutality, I will claim this.
His name is Alton Sterling.
His name is Philando Castille.
These were not marauders, they were men with families whose families are now left to mourn their losses. No matter how angry we are, it is them who suffer, not us.
We cannot continue on to live in a society where we choose to ignore such occurrences. We must fight back and take action against this systematic legal lynching. But we also need to see these murders in a broader scope.
War, whether it is the police against their own citizens, whether it is a corrupt government against its own people, whether it is neighbor against neighbor, or whether it is between two groups who simply have hate for each other. It is clear that, in any case, we are at war, and our allies are our communities. But we need to end these wars, these tragedies, and these systemic occurrences of violence. We must learn to love each other, care about each other, and allow ourselves to mourn, but allow ourselves to also fight for what is right.
I am not black and I am not a refugee. But I am a brown Asian man, gay and autistic, and my parents are immigrants from the Philippines and so I am an ally, and I know that whether it is war, police brutality, gun violence, or any other issue that we have faced, as a nation, as a global community, in the past few weeks, what we have is love. And I also know that there is always the potential that I could suffer, directly, from hateful acts such as this, it is just the reality.
So to end this article: #weareone #wearelove #wearehere
One love here. And with love, we shall overcome.