Black Lives do not matter


Charlie Riedel / Associated Press

Metro-Atlanta knows too well of the Black lives lost as a result of bigotry, given that the simmering emotions boiled over during the summer of 2020 at the CNN center. Murals across the city commemorate the martyrs of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. But what happens when the person behind the screen crying pools of tears and bleeding out on the pavement survives only as legend until Ralph Yarl flooded media outlets. Nevertheless, the lack of care for his case, both in terms of politically and morally, highlights, emphasizes and everything in between the extreme disparity within how The Land of the Free sees Black Americans: as specs of dirt.

Zioni Moore, Co-Copy Editor

blmAlmost every American has swerved down a wrong street and pulled into a driveway to perform their quick getaway to their target destination. Embarrassing as it lives within the memories of the driver or whoever rode in the car, no one could logistically expect a bullet to shatter their windshield, a wild assailant responsible. 

That theme of horror occurred April 19 when 16-year-old Ralph Yarl, a Kansas City resident, approached 84-year-old landowner Andrew Lester after a mix-up of 15th street addresses in the area and attempted to pick up his brothers. Yarl’s story could have ended up like much of the depressing news of young Black boys within the media: gunned down, bleeding out on the pavement and the entirety of the Black diaspora in America mourning the loss of another life gone to bigotry and obscene hatred. Except, the impossible happened: he survived.

Within the media, and American culture as a whole, the public tends to adore putting the pen down to the books of history, making legacy the ultimate covenant. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor serve as perfect examples of this phenomenon. These people, parents, ambitious and perfectly flawed, became martyrs and dinner table discussions. People that loved, attended first dates, experienced the joys of life and the pains of leaving it, reduced continuously in their lives and their legacies and turned into a tool for power-hungry living, remains sickening.

“To me, the BLM movement is a hope for change in the way Black people are treated in the US. For a while, I would see devastating things happening to Black people, but I didn’t see any widespread rallying until the BLM movement. Seeing Black people come together for a common cause made me feel a sense of hope because it allows me to feel like I’m not alone against the system. There are other people who are also fighting for change. While I am hopeful that there will be significant change, I’m not confident that there will be because recently there have actually been a lot of moving backward in a sense. It just seems as though every step forward is met with as much resistance as possible, so that makes me doubtful any real progress can be made,” magnet senior Belcy Emerson said.

This becomes ever increasingly repulsive when taking into account the representation of Black women and queer Black people post-mortem. Atlanta carries its fair share of wrongful trans deaths, with the most recent occurring April 20. Additionally, the pain of women such as Breonna Taylor as after two years since her wrongful demise, the internet continues to mock her. Also, the police officer responsible for her death, Myles Cosgrove, secured a position, again, as a police officer in a rural Kentucky sheriff’s office. Regardless of the rules of cancel culture and the need for people to repent sins in a highly clerical society, what part becomes spitting in the face of the people one massacre begins to blur into a maroon, oily, bloody prison complex of a mess. 

“Whether or not people admit it, being Black in America affects so much about how I do things in America. Sometimes if I’m out late I try to look as non-threatening as possible so I don’t get stopped. When I get pulled over I try to comply as much as possible so no one can say that I was incompliant. My experience just makes me more cautious and aware of the way I act,” Emerson said. 

That alone separates Yarl from everything else. The chants of “say his name” do not have to occur, because he continues to work to a full recovery physically. He lives another day to speak his truth, say his own name, fight, stand, breathe and live for his own sake. Regardless if Black lives don’t matter in America, the dysphoria will continue to demand that America takes a step back, pauses on its foundations of white supremacy and says “Yes, they do.”