You don’t have to forgive. 

BY: EBENEZER NKUNDA

Let’s get one thing straight, it is okay to get mad, to get completely pissed, to get freaking angry. IT IS OKAY. A few weeks, we saw the brother, Brandt Jean, of the shooting victim, Botham Jean, hug murderer Amber G-. Now, this exchange has mixed feelings, some being with it and some being totally against it. This was just another example of how black forgiveness is something we feel as if we have to do, however, think about if the opposite happened, would a white person forgive and hug a black person. It’s evident that white people have the privilege of being forgiven, but do they actually deserve it? 

Since the beginning, black people have been made criminal just because of the color of their skin. From 1619 to fugitive slave laws to Jim Crow and to the current constant murder and criminalization of innocent unarmed black people. I am tired of seeing stories of people being killed when they are just playing in the park, walking home, playing video games with their nephew; I mean when will it stop. It’s constant. Black people are constantly harmed— generational harm— so please stop asking us to forgive, but at this point, it is like we are no longer being asked, but expected. Black people have the stereotype of being aggressive, so if someone does us wrong, we’re looked at closely; people are examining how and if we are going to retaliate. The forgiveness narrative is so harmful. Black people are being murdered and people are only thinking about giving hugs and being polite to the murderers. Why does the public vilify the Ferguson protesters but praise Brandt Jean? This is the system that white supremacy oversees: the oppressed are told to forgive and forget, whereas the oppressors feel good knowing that what they did was not wrong enough and that there’s no resentment towards them. Black people are not allowed to be mad, to show anger, to show the hurt caused by the systems, policies, and hands of others but it shows the unjust. It shows that something is broken, so honestly show it. 

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