Strange Fruit

This past week, my friends and I have texted at length about the heaviness and despair we felt collectively.  My heart is heavy with the most recent news of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.  This kind of senseless loss of life when it comes to Black men makes my heart tremble with pain as the mother of a Black son and wife to a Black man. 

Where is the progress?  Why do I feel like I am in the same reoccurring nightmare and there is never any change to speak of?  Why are there people who are more outraged by the killing of a lion, dog or gorilla than they are by the lost of an innocent human life.  Why are Black men and boys being used as target practice for the police?  Why are we becoming so dehumanized and desensitized by the broadcasting of this news that we don't bat an eye when it comes up in our Instagram and Facebook feeds?  It's just business as usual as we scroll to the next photo.  Why should a 4 year old have to comfort her mother because of one of these disgusting incidents?  Why aren't we allowed to grieve these deaths like anyone else when they suffer a loss?  Not just for the victim and their family but for ourselves?  After all, this could be any Black or Brown person.  This could be me....

America does not want to confront the reality of the systemic racism that this country was built on.  Look at how Obama was treated and he is the president!  Imagine the average Black man that doesn't hold the highest office in the country!

It is simply enraging to see people minimize and try to misdirect what is going on by saying #alllivesmatter.  Of course all lives matter but all lives are not being gunned down consistently and unjustifiably on a constant daily basis.  All lives are not confronted with the very real  probability that a police interaction gone horribly wrong, could end up with a person taking their last breath in police custody.  There is undeniably and irrefutably a systemically improper way the police approach and deal with a Black suspect.  After these heinous crimes are completed and the victim is unable to defend themselves, then, the maligning of their character begins in order to justify the grave injustice they suffered at the hands of the police.  Records are released and the victim almost always is crucified for supposedly having a checkered past, as if this excuses the horrific shooting they suffered at the hands of trigger happy and biased police and pointedly says, "he had it coming".  

Even in the event the police arrived at the scene of a legitimate crime involving a Black man, I thought this was America and every single person no matter who they are or what they have done, is entitled to due process of the law.  At no point have we made, "death by firing squad" a legal way to punish the guilty.  Two men lost their lives over a "busted taillight and cds".  

This really can't be life.

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
— Billie Holiday
 Black Man in America by Laurie Cooper

Black Man in America by Laurie Cooper