by Justin Rosario
There are a lot of white people that still seem confused as to why Black Lives Matter exists much less why it's such a large and growing movement. After ignoring the pleas of the black community to curb police violence for decades (centuries?), the country is now confronted almost on a daily basis with images of the police casually brutalizing black people. But White America is still refusing to hold the police accountable for their actions, thus confirming the need for Black Lives Matter at the same time they are trying to dismiss it.
If you can watch this video of grown men manhandling a little 15-year-old girl who was hit by a car and agree that she needed to be slammed around and pepper-sprayed, you are enabling institutional racism that strips black people of their rights, their dignity, their freedom and, disproportionately, their lives:
The rationale for detaining her was a little flimsy but not completely unjustified:
A bystander who is questioning the tactics of police is told by an officer during the video that the medics needed to take a look at the girl, whose parents were not at the scene, because she is a minor and cannot refuse treatment.
"What happens ... when she's like, 'I'm fine,' right, and has a brain injury or something like that, and then she could die later?" the officer asks the bystander. " ... All we want to do is make sure she's OK."
Well, OK. Sure, have the medics take a look and if she's fine, let her go. But that's not what happened. Instead of deescalating the situation in which a 5 foot tall, 105 pound little girl was scared of getting in trouble, the police resorted to unnecessary brutality and when the little girl hurt their delicate feelings by resisting their violence, they pepper-sprayed her like an animal.
Remember, they were supposedly concerned about her physical well-being. So concerned that they slammed her into a wall and used a painful chemical attack on her before arresting her. They protected and served the shit out of her! Your tax dollars at work putting one of Those People back in their place.
Try to imagine the police treating a 15-year-old white girl with blond hair and blue eyes the same way. It's a laughable image because it simply wouldn't happen. And even if it did, which girl is going to generate the most public sympathy or even a rebuke of the officers?
And that's the problem; the police feel it's OK to viciously assault a little girl because, well fuck it, she's black and no one is going to get in trouble for slapping around a black kid. When there are no repercussions for brutality, there's no incentive for the police to treat the public with respect or even like human beings. And, naturally, they brutalize the people least likely to be able to fight back: Minorities and the poor.
Of course, the police are considering pressing charges against the little girl for assaulting an officer (5 feet tall, 105 pounds, 15 years old, truly a terrifying threat). Because what better way to reach out to the community than to use a fist to intimidate a child?
#BLM critics will say that the little girl should have obeyed the police and not made a fuss, but that's what they ALWAYS say when the police lash out. Hell, they even say it when the person was obeying the police and they shoot/beat/harass the (disproportionately) black person anyway. In their mind, the police are always justified in whatever they do to Those People and that's the exact attitude that explains why there is a Black Lives Matter movement and why it's resonating so strongly.
Until the police stop treating black lives as disposable, Black Lives Matter MUST continue to exist and be as loud as possible. Without it, the police will continue to prey on the weak and the violence will never stop.