Breonna Taylor, an African American woman, was shot and killed in her own home by police officers. This, along with the killing of George Floyd, caused outrage that was seen across the country and even the world. There have always been flaws in police regulations but, in 2020, activists are making sure changes will happen.
The police officers were not charged for Breonna’s death. If there’s anything that convinces you this system does not care for black lives, it would be this. As upsetting as the decision for her murderers is, the factors that led up to this are equally as upsetting. I’m talking about memes and performative activism campaigns performed by outlets like Vanity Fair and Oprah Magazine. The hashtag #JusticeForBreonna was created to bring Taylor’s name out and demand the correct justice, but it was instead used by some people for their own advantage. They put her name on shirts, made quirky posts on social media, and made her into a punchline.
The police officers were charged with Wanton Endangerment, meaning they did not intend the harm on the persons and were not trying to commit a crime. That decision is a slap in the face for those who have been protesting for more than 100 days for the right justice, just to be told that the murderers did not intend to kill Breona and that her death meant nothing.
This is not the first time we encountered this behavior, and it won’t be the last. Many peaceful Black Lives Matter protests all over the U.S. have turned into riots. Many were prompted by police officers, then blamed on the protesters so civilians at home could disagree with these protests. Outside individuals unconcerned with the movement would join these protests for the sole intention of looting and creating chaos, not realizing the damage they’re doing to the movement as a whole.
Insincere posts all over the internet blind everyone to the true problem. It’s heartbreaking to see these posts coming from non-black people. It brings the question, “Are we a joke to you?” into our minds. It doesn’t matter what the intention was when posting, it still stings.
It’s extremely disappointing for the black community to look to the internet and social media to bring attention to struggles, but all they get back in return are T-shirts and George Flloyd plushies. Please, Do Not Turn Black Lives Into Merchandise.
By Isa Hamilton