By Alonta Pitts
What does it mean to be black in 2016?
It’s sad to say, this question doesn’t bring about a lot of good answers. In 2015, it seemed as though there was little acceptance and appreciation for the black community; instead we were pushed, and dragged several steps back. It seems as though black lives are meaningless. Oppression, racism and discrimination are prevalent, but many feel that we should not talk about such topics.
According to The Guardian, black Americans were more than twice as likely to be killed unarmed as white Americans, and 32% of 135 black people killed by police were unarmed in 2015. Black lives have also been taken by other types of brutalities and discriminations.
Several movements have formed as a result of these situations. Black Lives Matter involves bringing about awareness of the discrimination, specifically police brutality. Black Lives Matter has many faces, including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and several others. Also, the Mizzou Movement emerged to show that discrimination on college campuses does still exist.
The Year 2016 means Retribution, Empowerment, Strength and Courage. The media manipulates, and taints the lives of many. It has a way of portraying stereotypes and prejudices. It has a way of being a hypocritical system. It’s unreal how degrading the media is today. Black people are imitated, used by people like Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. But when women like Zendaya decide to show their roots they get stereotyped and scrutinized.
It is time to fight together instead of against each other, talk about our strengths and show we are here. While some, like actress Stacey Dash, believe that we should get rid of the NAACP, BET, The IMAGE Awards, and Black History Month, she fails to realize why they were created. We don’t want to separate ourselves from society, but we want to be recognized for our talents and achievements. We should be celebrating who we are.
It’s 2016, and we’re starting fresh. It’s time to celebrate black lives. It’s time to love our neighbors. It’s time to stop spewing hate at one another. It’s time to fight for each other. Being Black in 2016 means standing strong, for our brothers and sisters. Talyn Brooks wrote that we must conquer tainted grounds, like LA, Inglewood, Harlem, Bronx, Chicago, and Detroit. If it takes the NAACP to acknowledge our achievements, then it shall be done, instead of sitting in silence waiting to be acknowledged.
Being Black is Power,
Being Black is Beautiful,
Being Black is Knowledge.
Being Black in 2016 is remembering our ancestor’s challenges. It’s pushing through today’s heartaches, and tomorrow’s roadblocks, and becoming Kings and Queens. Building on strong roots means building better futures. That is being black in 2016. It may be easier said than done, but Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream.” We are not meaningless. It’s time to continue moving forward, keeping his dream alive.