Hello, hello, hello, my fellow Americans and all fighters for justice, please lend me your ears. I am Pamela Anchang, editor, and Founder of The Immigrant Magazine. I cannot thank you enough for the massive response to my monologue “Black Lives Matter is not a Joke”. I received lots of responses, plenty of harsh insults and even one where I was called a monkey and another threatened to throw me out of a plane if he could, all because I believe that if we claim that all lives matter then Black Lives should matter as well, and as we have seen they certainly have not when it comes to a lot of issues particularly on inequality and justice. I received many videos of various schools of thought including speeches by Miss Candace Owens a successful African America thought leader with a great handle of facts and statistics that are very persuadable. I received numerous responses from African Americans, and Africans in Africa from all walks of life which gave me insight into the community of black people in America, and the spectrum could not have been any wider.
So, Candace I would first of all start by applauding your bravery and determination to choose your path in this movement for helping black people with so much conviction. As far as intent is concerned, we are definitely on the same page. I however would just like to give you another perspective on some of the things you assert. I am an African immigrant and I have to say that listening to you I was taken aback because you did not seem to acknowledge the fact that the American black community is more heterogeneous today than it might have been a hundred years ago. We are now made up of African, Latino blacks, Caribbean blacks, and descendants of slaves and therefore when you lump us all in one box you are not being completely factual. As an immigrant I am getting to have a better understanding of hate in America today and it is very scary.
A response from James Burks, the founder of The African Marketplace, cultural faire that created jobs for our people and launched many small African immigrant businesses impacted me. Today he is involved in Special Projects as Director for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs continuing to incorporate the ideas of economic empowerment of the Black Arts Community. His response to me drew my attention to some of the challenges that black people have been through and yet in the midst of these challenges made tremendous sacrifices on behalf of many African nations. Tell you the truth, as a new African immigrant I was misled in my judgment by the mainstream media that through various content made me fear my own people thinking they were all thugs, lazy and up to no good. Yet in retrospect my first job opportunities and subsequent growth have been at the helm of outstanding African Americans who taught me early on to be “woke”. It took me a while to catch on but in time I have come to understand. Having children of my own and two black boys for that matter has been both rewarding and a source of extreme anxiety. Contrary to the general stereotypes we are fighting against, my boys have never been in legal trouble and are raised by the values of my African culture and discipline. Yet I worry for them. Your statistics on ratio of blacks killed by cops versus police killed is a great numbers game until that stat becomes your reality. And so, my sister, you have been very vocal about your distaste for the outpouring of support for justice for George Floyd, wondering why a man with a less than stellar past would be treated as a martyr. I do fear my sister that your assessment of this sad situation may be misguided unless you have a better option and one that acknowledges this original American sin of racism embedded in slavery . I am not a member of the Black Lives Movement, which emerged in the summer of 2013, after George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the shooting death of a black teen Trayvon Martin, it began as a hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. However, I do think that they do a great job fighting injustice against black people. The cry here is not that a criminal, bad or great person was killed, rather it is the denial of justice in a court of law as accorded everyone else. We have rarely if ever heard of a police brutality incident where a white male has lost his life and yet according to a Washington Post study, “even though the number of black and unarmed people fatally shot by police has declined since 2015, whether armed or not, black people are still shot and killed at a disproportionately higher rate than white people by the police.” How can you explain that? You might say they were thugs but as video footage suggests, some of the killings do not involve guns as in Eric Garner who was videotaped pleading for air with a New York police officer’s arm around his neck before his death in 2014. Freddie Gray died of a severe spinal injury in Baltimore the following year, suffered when he was transported in a police van wearing shackles but not a seat belt, and today, the outrage surrounding George Floyd’s death began when a video from Minneapolis showed Floyd, hands cuffed behind his back and prone on the ground, gasping “I can’t breathe” as a white police officer drove his knee into the black man’s neck. The officer held it there for nearly nine minutes. For almost three of those minutes, Floyd was not responsive. So again, I have heard you say you do not condone his death and by the same breath reference his checkered past as if to validate his murder, while just as an example James Alex Fields Jr., The driver who plowed his car into a group of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, killing one and injuring dozens, was sentenced to life in prison on federal hate crime charges. He got his chance in court pleaded guilty to 29 of 30 hate crime charges and avoided the death penalty for murdering civil rights activist Heather Heyer and injuring more than 30 others. Have you forgotten a clear case of systemic injustice or racism in the teen, Ethan Couch, who killed four people in the famous ‘affluenza’ case,? Ethan Couch, known for his “affluenza” defense in his deadly drunk driving case, was accused of testing positive for THC on a drug patch, the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. He was sentenced in 2013 to 10 years of probation for a drunken driving crash that killed four people and seriously injured two others.
He received no prison time after a psychologist testified that Couch was a victim of “affluenza,” a product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for him. Yet you have cited the substances revealed to have been in George Floyd’s system as if they were reason for his death or bad behavior.
Would you say that Black Lives really matter, when George Floyd was murdered for $20 bill? Wouldn’t it have been better to have had his day in court just like these two mentioned and many others. I know you dwell on the issue of black on black crime just like many others do, but I submit that it is a serious conversation to be had and it is horrible. However, right now black lives matter because we are being killed by those who have taken an oath to protect us and it an atrocity. Candace no one glorifies crime, but shouldn’t the law apply equally to all Americans rich ,poor, affluenza, black, Asian or white etc.? Just in case you haven’t been paying attention here are some more examples:
- Breonna Taylor, killed by police serving a no-knock warrant who shot her eight times in her home;
- Ahmaud Arbery, a black jogger chased down and shot to death in Georgia;
- and most recently the viral video of a white woman weaponizing her white privilege to call the police as a threat against a black birdwatcher during a confrontation in Central Park?
In all honesty with all these examples can you in good conscience say this movement has no validity? Do all lives really matter if black lives are not part of that equation? Now, regardless of the organization, don’t you think that black lives deserve special attention at this time? Well Candace, I really believe that not only is this movement relevant today it is effective to the point where the world has joined the movement despite the corona virus pandemic. The world around us is now more than ever standing up and signaling that they now understand the plight of black America. White people have taken to the streets shielding black protesters, major sports organizations are dismantling objects of past segregation, and finally Collin Kaepernick is getting validation for his sacrifice. A top General Mark Miley not only apologized for being a part of the charade photo op in front of St John’s church he also had this to say, “I am outraged by the senseless and brutal killing of George Floyd. His death amplified the pain, the frustration, and the fear that so many of our fellow Americans live with day in, day out,” Milley said.
“The protests that have ensued not only speak to his killing, but also to the centuries of injustice toward African Americans,” he added, saying “we should all be proud that the vast majority of protests have been peaceful.”
Is it possible that all these people of great success, diverse cultures, races, generations have lost their minds or misguided in seeing this for what it is, racism?
I understand that you have been on a mission to promote a political career and that is fine and in your right. It is ok to pick your political side but what I fear is off is your presentation of the narrative without any empathy for the family and many grieving Americans at this time just so your political agenda should prosper. I suggest that on matters of justice we as a people speak one voice. When a cop pulls you over, he sees a black woman and not a conservative or a liberal. Again Candace, I have great respect for you being an alarmist for black people’s issues. That is an especially important role. However, with all due respect to what is going on now, we need to be more conscious and separate the focus for now. Let’s focus on justice for all now and take black on black crime to another forum where the focus is on how black people treat each other, where we can deal with the deconstruction of mental enslavement and the false complex of inferiority, and consequences of segregation. It is not strategic nor wise at this time when the world is joining black lives to conquer racism that you start stirring up anger in the black communities, because you are brilliant at what you do. I do host a show, Africa Speaks which will be coming to my channel TIMTV on YouTube and would love to exchange with you on how to move our people forward.
As a black parent today in America, George Floyd may not have been the ideal role model for black kids, certainly was not perfect and we all agree on that but that is not the issue why his death provided for the world to start focusing on justice for black lives and why it is very important now. Ghanaian American writer and Global Opinions editor for The Washington Post Karen Attiah captures his role in this historic moment so well. In an op-ed she wrote she says, George Floyd is this generation’s Emmett Till. Just like his murder sparked the civil rights movement, George Floyd is the spark for the global protests we are witnessing in spite of the deadly pandemic. I am sure you will appreciate my anxieties and why I am vocal on this subject. “ Her father cried”, she says, and that is how I weep for my boys.
If not, here is a portion of an essay my son wrote about his life as a black male in America:
In his own words: “Realizing I’m the Villain”
When I was a child, I used to walk around not knowing that I was black, to me I was just a kid, nothing more nothing less, race was never tied into my being. It was not until the 7th grade that I realized I was a black man. I remember that I would be walking home from school in my fila shoes, basketball shorts, worn out shirt from playing basketball during lunch, and my white socks up to my knees. Usually while I was walking, I would find myself behind someone of a different skin tone, being that I was in a city where there weren’t many other races of people other than white or Hispanic, black people were the minority big time. Typically, I would find myself walking behind one of the two usually a girl and they would turn their heads back and see me, in the quickest motion they would immediately turn their heads back forward and proceed to walk as if they were in a speed walking race, some would even cross the street. What stood out to me most about this though, was the hint of almost fear they would give off in their faces, their eyes. Whenever our eyes met, they would have this look as if they were walking, turned their heads and saw a criminal from the Americas Most Wanted List. To see this look in someone’s eyes for the first time and know that it is because of you is one of the most enraging and saddening things you can experience, to know that you are feared by most until proven otherwise can make you feel angry and frustrated whilst at the same time make you feel very small and lonely in that instance, make you wish you weren’t even yourself, it makes living feel uncomfortable. If I could change the color of my skin every time, I walked out in public amongst people different from me I would. It was not my fault I was born black, nor was it ever a fault to begin with. The idea of a black man ever threatening the United States of America is a fabricated story meant to keep the black man in a mental enslavement. But what does the truth matter when the people who wrote the lies make up 70 percent of the United States population? To be a black man in America is to be the world’s biggest villain and the sooner you realize this the less surprised you will be when you are treated as such.
Here is also an excerpt from a letter sent to me by an African American mother desperate for her son:
Good morning Pamela! Could you please sign our petition and use your platform to help me get as many signatures as you can? Many black children in our school districts are made fun of, assaulted, disciplined more severely than the other non-black students, and often marginalized. It’s become so bad that my 7-year-old son has threatened suicide if he has to return to school. Both my son and daughter cry when I bring up returning to school. My son has been beat up and spat on and the kids were never punished. However, my son was punished for yelling at them. They kept my husband and me from participating in the school organizations when I started discussing educational reform and equity training for the staff and administrators. I was kicked off the PTA and the White President, said, in front of the principal that, “it is reverse racism for White people to have to have Blacks on the PTA if the other members don’t personally like them.” That was the last thing said to me before they stopped allowing me entrance into the meetings. We went to the school board and we were told that our numbers are too low to require equity training and when I talked about the psychological affects it has had on our children, they simply didn’t care. They smirked as they said that the only way, I would receive funding for psychological assessments was to take them to court. So please help us by signing this petition and sending this to as many of your contacts that you feel will support the cause. Clearly Black Lives Don’t Matter at my kid’s school.
Now, tell me, what am I to do with these anxieties, especially since my boys are now men and behind the steering wheel? I can no longer shield them in a car seat. George Floyd said he could not breathe and then died. When he called out for his mother, “ mama”, “mama,” it will not be farfetched to conclude that most mothers wept! If we do nothing about it, who will be the next George Floyd? That is why regardless of the corona virus the world has been protesting against a bigger virus called, injustice from racism. For black people at this time, to lose focus on justice would be deadly. And so, when the Black Lives Movement gives leadership, we are grateful. Unless you have a better structure or can convince the administration to bring much needed police reform and to start by acknowledging that there is a problem, we all will be marching alongside the Black Lives Movement. What wouldn’t a mother do to protect her child?
Mr. James Burks, founder of the African Market place in response to my address to Miss Nestride and Breitbart media gave me one of the best suggestions about a path forward towards unity between Africans and African Americans ; and we will apply the same logic to finding common ground in the marathon to find justice for black lives.
What is the way forward? It is often that we talk without proposing concrete actionable plans. I suggest a few:
- Black people must all focus on justice not the Republican nor Democratic parties’ agendas. Only look into agenda with politicians that have constructive and progressive changes for justice. Let’s choose agendas that will further enhance justice for all. This way we are not beholden and blackmailed by any political party.
- Let us talk about the current issue now which is police brutality with sincerity setting aside our political or personal interests.
- America has come a long way in policing and must be acknowledged but as a beacon of democracy that it stands on, it can do better. The core issue now is not that black people should start fighting to dissolve the police systems in America. We cannot afford a society without police and cannot trash all the great officers doing their jobs protecting America today.
- We should rather focus on fixing the small percentage of bad apples that exist and focus on propositions that will enable better policing. I suggest black people focus more on getting their black kids to join the police force. They are well paying Jobs as well as impactful for our safety
- Also, we must try to vote with our community leaders for propositions that will engage more community policing. I suggest there should be a quota of black officers proportionate to the population of the policing district so that there should be better understanding.
I will conclude by saying, NO ALL LIVES DO NOT MATTER UNTIL BLACK LIVES MATTER EQUALLY! It’s not just me saying it, the world is saying it. Here is a message from one of my favorite immigrant white Influencers, Gary Vaynechuk, Chairman of Vayner Media.
How is anyone confused?
If you have hate in your mind your time is coming, every human with kindness in his heart is tired. ENOUGH of “All lives matter”, but please deploy empathy. We as a group are focused on Black ones, #blacklivesmatter. If you can’t love, how do you expect to be loved. Selfishness is everywhere. It’s time for massive selflessness especially for those who don’t walk in the shoes of incredible men and women who face racism on a daily basis whether it is conscious or unconscious. Silence is how hate breathes; it is enough we must suffocate racism because it is the right thing to do.
Choose to love someone else.
I agree whole heartedly with Gary and as a black woman I am grateful for your support. Thank you all for taking the time and see you on TIM TV, Voice of Immigrants in America!