Karma Leslie, Journalist

The Hate U Give Little Infants F**** Everybody

Black History Month isn’t just to celebrate and commemorate famous historical black figures like Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, Harriet Tubman, Bessie Coleman, Maya Angelou, and others.

It’s also to remember and mourn the black lives lost because of police brutality. To celebrate the black men and women who saw their blackness as a gift and not a curse. Who saw the beauty in being black.

The men and women who could’ve made a difference in the world, but couldn’t because their lives were taken too soon. Black History Month is to remind kids that their skin color is beautiful and holds their past and that they should be proud of who they are – the same kids who will see the news and hear the stories about another black person being killed. The same kids who silently wish that they were white instead so they don’t have to worry about an officer killing them

While people may see our skin color as a weapon, it isn’t, it’s a gift to be honored and respected. It’s our power and our keys to the pride and humbleness of our ancestors. 

Daunte Wright, Andre Hill, Manuel Ellis, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Aura Rosser, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Tanisha Fonville. These are just 13 of the 1,920 African Americans killed by police officers from 2014-2020. Out of all of these 13 victims, people will only recognize two- the two that the world made noise about, but what about the rest? People protested but do you remember their names?

I don’t know about you, but 1,920 shouldn’t be the number of black people killed because of their skin color. It should be zero, but unfortunately, we can’t walk the streets without worrying about being the next number added to that list.

Movies and music try to shine a light on the injustice the police system has towards black people, minorities, and the underclass. “The Hate U Give” is one of the many books and movies that show how the police act when they wrongly kill an unarmed African American.

Cops lined up ready to disperse a peaceful protest that was being held, no one had thrown anything or shown any sign of aggression toward the cops, and they still went ahead and used force to get rid of the protestors.

African American students born or raised in an area considered “ghetto” and attending a school in a privileged area tend to be a different version of themselves. If an African American student dresses in a way to honor the black culture they’ll be judged.

“Everybody wants to talk about how Khalil died, but this isn’t about how Khalil died. It’s about the fact that he lived. His life mattered. Khalil lived!” A quote from “The Hate U Give” is something you can apply to all the African Americans wrongfully killed.

When an African American is killed wrongfully, everyone focuses on how they’re killed, never on how they lived. But the officer who killed them is constantly having people talk about how they lived. They will humanize the officer but won’t humanize the victim.

You can destroy wood and brick but can’t kill a movement. While people think that no one is making noise and talking about injustice, we are. It isn’t forgotten, more people just need to actually see that the “Black Lives Matter” movement isn’t for popularity or for “street cred”, it’s to save lives and make things right.

They say we have the right to a peaceful protest and freedom of speech, yet whenever we do either it’s met with force and aggression. Then African Americans are blamed for being violent.

Black men can never show their anger in public for fear of having the cops called on them. So instead they’re forced to stay quiet till they’re alone. Black women have to watch the way they act, the way they talk, and the way they dress more than most women. That’s because if they choose to do dreadlocks in honor of their culture they get called ghetto.

Black people have no privilege to honor their heritage without being told their ghetto or that they’re dealers. Donald Trump, a past president, painted us and other minorities as violent criminals who need to be put away. He just stood by with a smile as the news spoke of how George Floyd was killed. 

You’d think the news would have our backs, that they would show the truth behind who started the violence in protest, but the sad truth is they don’t. Most news stations consistently leave out the crucial facts about the protests. 

What about the fact that more than 50% of the prison’s inmate population is consistent with black individuals? Individuals that the system did dirty, individuals who didn’t do the crime they committed. The correctional system is flawed and is designed to target the African American population. 

2 Pac, a rapper we all know and all love, once said that being black or a minority is just T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E- The Hate U Give Little Infants F*** Everybody. The children, us teenagers, preteens, and children are the ones who will screw everybody over. That is because we will speak up, we will use our voices, and we will use our rights. 

Say their names, remember their names, respect their names, and honor their lives because each one of them lived. February isn’t just about historical figures who made a difference, it’s about our brothers and sisters who got killed because of their skin color.