Former Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger was found guilty of murder in the slaying of her Black neighbor, 26-year-old Botham Jean. The verdict presumably brings a small level of peace to Jean’s family but certainly a big relief to millions of Black people, and that is precisely the problem. Black people, largely, still live in a world in which our collective fate is one which is decided for us. Black people constantly find themselves in a state of waiting — for justice, opportunity and benevolence from others. This guilty verdict should be a wake up call.
A woman walked into a man’s apartment, uninvited, while he was enjoying a snack. That woman then shot him. Black women (and men) fully understand that they could never do such a thing in America. It is only because the victim was Black that Guyger had a chance. Indeed, Black people everywhere were bracing themselves for the infamous “not guilty” verdict. It was the same verdict handed down to Emmett Till’s killers and George Zimmerman. The not guilty verdict is especially terrorizing to powerless people. The issue is power — significance, the ability to determine one’s course and defend their interests.
The U.S drops bombs on weaker nations with little thought because those nations have no power. While some might loathe the United States, they dare not send drones to Washington — not out of admiration but fear. That Black America holds its breath, waiting for “justice” every single time simply highlights the degree to which a powerless people is appealing to more powerful, oppressive forces to be more benevolent. This must change and it starts with accepting the simple truth that no one can oppress us unless we give them the money to do so.
We can no longer protest police brutality while gladly depositing our dollars into banks that built capital through slavery and now invest heavily in a racist prison industry. We can no longer allow those banks and other corporations to use our money to fund politicians who will block meaningful reforms to our criminal justice system. We can no longer fund our own oppression. Period. Social media posts demanding “justice” will not bring about power. Power is given every time we spend our money. We Buy Black exists as a tool to recycle our dollars, create wealth and build power. Black people everywhere are breathing heavy sighs of relief right now because of a guilty verdict that was very much in doubt and that is a problem.