It is difficult to say that I am jealous. But I am.
I am jealous about the two million or more marchers who came out in Paris to protest the killing of 14 staff members of Charlie Hebdo, who were in the habit of publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed that some folks found offensive.
I am also jealous of the tens of thousands who came out on a cold wintry day in Montreal to protest the same killings, as was the case in many cities around the world. This, ironically, was on the same day that we learned that Muslim extremists had killed as many as 2,000 people in northern Nigeria.
And then I went to see the movie Selma and wondered where were those millions of marchers when white folks were beating and killing Black folks in countless numbers in the United States for no other reason than for the colour of their skin?
I looked at the way in which Black folks, both old and young, were beaten and killed for no other reason than being Black and wanting to exercise the right to vote.
I looked at the protests then and saw no difference with the recent protests in St. Louis, Missouri and New York City over the senseless killing of two Black men by white police officers.
In the case of Eric Garner we saw him alive talking to the police officers. We saw him in the chokehold, we saw him on the ground being smothered, and then we saw him dead! And then we had the results of the grand jury investigation which found that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the police officers.
How little has changed in 50 years, or in the last hundred and fifty years for that matter.
It is true that America has a Black president, which I never thought that I would see in my lifetime, and a few Black folks who own large houses and are driving around in BMW and Mercedes Benz cars and SUVs. But the reality is that we may have moved only a few baby steps.
The marchers’ theme has been freedom, but recent events have demonstrated that Black folks are yet to be free. In the year 2015 we are still fighting racism, profiling and the right to be human.
In 2015 the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is alive and well and is attempting to heighten their profile by wanting to adopt a stretch of highway in Georgia. Having already lost their initial battle in court, they are now appealing the decision.
As well, in Bladenboro, North Carolina, a 17-year-old Black boy was found hanged perhaps because of his relationship with a white woman. Called ‘Crackertown’ by its Black residents, Bladenboro’s population of 1,700 is 80% white and 18% Black, with a history of 86 lynchings between 1882 and 1968.
Given this state of affairs it should be relatively easy to understand my jealousy, because I may have naively believed that we should stand equally against any form of tyranny and extremism.