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Written by

Yemisi Adedoyin

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Do Black Lives Finally Matter?…

Emancipation. Empowerment. Evolution. What do these words mean to you? History has repeated itself for the longest and now it seems the world has just awoken from their slumber to the injustice, discrimination, inequality and racism (be it overt or covert) towards blacks, triggered by George Floyd’s killing. We’ve seen protests before, but something about this just feels different. No, this isn’t a queue for violins and I usually shy away from such sensitive topics, but there comes a time when you’re beyond fed up of seeing the same story just with a different name attached.

Countless times we’ve heard the stories of police who are supposed to ‘protect and serve’ and citizens who want to take the law into their own hands and play cop, being the ones responsible for the deaths of so many black people. So the question is, where is safe?  Can’t be in your own home. Can’t go for a drive. Can’t wear a hoodie. Can’t be on a train platform. Can’t even go for a jog!

Back in the 80’s, N.W.A said ‘police think they have the authority to kill a minority’ in a song where they encouraged people to put their middle fingers up to the boys in blue. 30 odd years later, and has anything changed? Back in the 80’s, Public Enemy were trying to get people to ‘fight the power’. 30 odd years later, and has anything changed?  I know we’re not in America, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant.

George Floyd isn’t the first to die at the ‘hands’ of the police, but he is the catalyst that has made the world (not just America) rise and shine to the injustice a people have endured, and say enough is enough.

Statues are being toppled. Protests are in full force. People are kneeling in order to take a stand. Firm fists are being pumped in the air. Styles P – I’m Black probably hits different and feels something like an anthem.  And one would hope that the masses are seriously re-evaluating the state of affairs as a whole.

I’m not sure where this energy was before but I sincerely hope positive change stems from this. I don’t know about you, but I’m (im)patiently waiting to see how this unfolds….

2 responses to “Do Black Lives Finally Matter?…

  1. Nice article.

    It’s so true and also the point re N.W.A…this time it’s different because this time we demand change and we can hold those in authority accountable.

  2. BLM began as an American movement for American purposes in the American context (and began because of the Trayvon Martin murder in 2012; George Floyd’s murder rejuvenated BLM but did not “trigger” it.)
    The American BLM movement is commonly appropriated by local lobbies in other places and modified for local purposes. Race relations in Toronto have deteriorated because of both the emergence of youth gangs in immigrant communities, first Vietnamese and more recently black Caribbean immigrants, and the illegal drug trade, which offers teenagers more cash in hand than any employment, and guns too. The police respond by stopping and searching more people, more often young and black than any other category, with a consequent increase in violence and gunfire. Age has a lot more to do with this than skin colour (cf. Anders Brevik, ISIS, and so on.)
    Feelings of “Black solidarity” encourage black minorities everywhere to borrow the conveniently available history and theory of black Americans of the last 50 or 100 years, which can be misleading. In the first place, most black Canadians are immigrants while most black Americans were born American and never lived in any other political environment. Secondly, black Americans have always been recognized as the largest minority with substantial complaints grounded in race. This is not the case in Canada, where black Canadians are far outnumbered by aboriginal “First Nations” with their own quite different grievances, acknowledged by the institutions of the state. There is serious competition for the front of the queue for redress.

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