Aleeyah is a hero to Black America right now and really she should be to all PoC. During a time in our country where one of the leading Presidential candidates is running on a platform of fear and hate, openly backed by racists and bigots who want nothing more than to harm brown people, she took a stand and said, “No, you will not.”
I know there’s a flood of people who are saying, violence is not the answer! She should have just walked away! As if the girl who felt confident to look Aleeyah in the face and call her a nigger didn’t deserve to popped right in the mouth.
Aleeyah’s actions are counter to the narrative of the “right” way to react when faced with racism. People of color are supposed to turn the other cheek. We’re not supposed to be upset. We are supposed to smile and sing “We shall overcome” while wearing suits and marching to church.
Here’s a quick history lesson for everyone though. Black people tried that, it was a big deal. The suits and singing and blessings. All of that. They were met with dogs and water hoses. Police that beat them with batons.
Their very peaceful demonstrations were met with violence. And to top it all off, the figure head of peaceful protest in the United States, the man that people trot out when they want to condemn any person of color for being upset when verbally or physically attacked by racists, Martin Luther King Jr, was shot.
The most peaceful, most respectable protestor who preached love and taught unity was shot and killed.
Fast forward to 2016 where we are still dealing with a ton of racially fueled violence. It is not surprise that Aleeyah, when met with it, choose to strike rather than just offer her cheek to be struck. It is completely understandable why she hit that girl. That is not what people should be talking about.
What needs to be discussed is why that girl felt like it was ok for her to call Aleeyah a nigger in the first place. We’re not really going to ask that though because we already know why she felt like it was ok. Because it was ok. Because America has a huge problem with racism and if you haven’t noticed it, you’re not paying attention.
So stop looking at Aleeyah and asking her why. Look at that other nameless white girl and ask her why she felt ok. Ask the society and culture that made her feel it was ok why. But don’t waste Aleeyah’s time asking why she swatted the wasp that stung her.