Rika Tyler and T-Dubb-O

Some may say much has changed since our grandparents were boycotting in the streets of the U.S. during the Civil Rights era. Some new laws and policies did in fact give Black people some of the same civil liberties as other citizens in this country.

However, we are still being mentally enslaved, figuratively lynched, and discriminated against as if Malcolm, Martin, Fannie Lou, Rosa, and others never left their homes. The Charleston church shooting was another reminder that laws cannot change the hearts of men.

Racism cannot be abolished by a document. Murder is already illegal, but it seems to be totally moral and legal in some circumstances for law enforcement and others who murder, rob, and extort Black people at will. Pictures from St. Louis during the Ferguson uprising were placed side by side with pictures from the 50s and 60s and you could not tell the difference between time frames in most pictures.

The media portrays us as “thugs” all while it also controls the influence of how the Black dollar is spent. The plantation was substituted for a school to prison pipeline that is worth billions, and minimum wage work that gives you just enough money to feed, clothe, and house yourself for your hard labor instead of “master” having to do so.

Every 28 hours a Black person is murdered by a police officer, security guard, or vigilante. To us, these are versions of a modern day lynching. Systematic oppression, predatory policing, and the war on drugs has replaced the Bull Connors of the South to keep Black people in “check”.

A lot of us may feel things have changed things due to the fact we have a Black president, and a few successful Black people. They say if you work hard, speak properly, dress properly, follow the law, and basically deny your Blackness as much as possible you won’t be gunned down in the middle of the street by police and can make a survivable wage. Forget about the fact that your people were forced here, built this country, released with not a cent to their names, and told make something out of nothing.

What separated Emmett Till from Trayvon Martin? The year is the main difference. Like George Zimmerman, Emmett Till’s murderers were also let off Scott free. It’s like 1955 with Wifi.

We have been bamboozled by a few government-signed documents. The Confederate flag still waves proudly in many places. It symbolizes how we are still denied civil liberties daily. But, now we have a bunch of Black people who fail to realize their minds are still enslaved. If we don’t wake up now, we will never really get free.

This article originally appeared on TriceEdneyWire.com. It is reprinted with permission.

T-Dubb-O, a Hip-Hop artist, is a director for Hands Up United, a grass roots organization building towards the liberation of oppressed Black, Brown and Poor people.

Rika Tyler, a community organizer and advocate for children, is a program director of Hands Up United.