The Black Lives Matter discussion is very important and broad. As a result, I will be writing a series of articles discussing my thoughts about it.
Over the centuries, people of colour have faced racism. In Europe, America, Asia and even in Africa, there have been recurring records of humiliations against the Black race just for having a different skin colour. The histories of ancient slavery reveal that racism against Blacks did not begin recently. Blacks have been abducted, severely tortured and sold as property. Although slavery is now abolished, Blacks are still treated as low profiles and degraded persons in many parts of the world.
In a quest for racial equity, anti-racism organizations and movements like ColourofChange and Black Lives Matter have erupted to fight against discriminations against Blacks. Although founded in 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement recently sprang up after the murder of the African-American named George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis.
The Black Lives Matter movement so far has made progress both in its supporters and its petition. The movement has not only attracted thousands of supporters in the streets of America, but has also aroused interests in other countries including some in Africa. While majority in Africa have taken to the internet during the current pandemic, others have breached orders against public gatherings and have boldly taken to the streets. For instance, in Ghana, more than 60 people participated in the Black Lives Matter rally despite the country’s ban on public gatherings.
This global solidarity shows the desire to fight years of Blacks’ injustice and achieve racial equity.
Black lives truly matter
The excesses of power in many countries have become alarming. Police brutality is just one of them. Recently, a 16-year-old girl, Tina Ezekwe was killed in gunfire by a police officer in Nigeria. Police brutalities still continue even after the Black Lives Matter protests. A few days after George Floyd’s murder was the murder of another African American, Tony McDade who was killed by a white police officer in Florida.
Blacks have also been mistreated and killed by non-law enforcement institutions. A recent case is Ahmaud Arbery, a Black who was shot while jogging in Georgia by a White man and his son. These disturbing cases definitely make the Black Lives Matter movement a global urgency and necessity. But is this all there is to know?
The Black Lives Matter is rightly fighting to end racism against Blacks. However, one should expect that racism against Blacks should be from non-Blacks, perhaps Whites. Sadly, cases of crimes against Blacks are actually more from Blacks than from non-Blacks. Sounds strange right?
A report by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that 90% of the homicides committed on Blacks were from other Blacks. This does not mean that Whites do not also murder one another as the report also says 82% of the homicides committed on Whites were from other Whites. Obviously, most crimes are committed within racial groups.
As a Black, the likelihood of being killed by another Black is higher than to be by a White. An important question to ask however is, do Black lives matter to Blacks too?
Addressing Black on Black crimes does not attempt to cover up police brutality but rather suggests that attention should also be given to the 90% of Black on Black crimes because Black Lives Matter is not a racial fight but a human right fight.
Apart from crimes, Africans who have attempted to migrate to the West have been mistreated by other Blacks who identify themselves first as foreigners before being Black. Some migrants reveal that they receive more help from Whites than they did from Blacks. They also shared that while they expected more support from other Blacks, they were rather treated as competitors.
Black lives matter to Blacks too
Some African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya have rightly joined the Black Lives Matter movement. This is commendable because Black lives matter everywhere even among other Blacks. Unfortunately, protesters in Africa are missing the point. They do not think Black lives matter in Africa but matter only in America. For instance, the leader of the Black Lives Matter rally in Lagos, Nigeria said during the protest that the “US must put an end to white supremacy”. The question is why should the message about Blacks in a protest by Blacks in a country of Blacks be about ‘US supremacy’? Why is it not about ending Black on Black violence, exploitations and corruption in Africa?
Black Lives Matter protests in the West should give attention to those historical systemic injustices which entrench and nurture Black on Black violence- poverty, unemployment, poor educational attainment and drug problems among Blacks. However, those in Africa should in turn focus on the issues hurting Blacks in Africa.