Black and White: Angry black girl label, police brutality and uneducated people.


I have to admit, when I got the idea for this post, I was both excited and nervous. These posts can be received in a strong NEGATIVE way or a strong POSITIVE way. My aim in this post is to spread awareness really, and to try and show those who, like myself before I did proper research, may not know much about this ongoing issue.

So I’ve a few things to clarify: 

1- I am not preaching. I am expressing my opinion on an issue that is PAINFULLY ignored by large portions of the media WORLDWIDE.

2- I don’t know all the facts. I have researched for this post but of course, there are details, facts and points that I may miss out in this post. Please excuse me if I’m woefully ignorant of important details and feel free to educate me. I'd rather learn the facts than be ignorant of them.

3- This is the opinion of a white, middle class college student who lives a VERY comfortable life and there is no way that I can ever fully know what it’s like to live as a black person who very often experiences violence, verbal abuse, exclusion, racism and cruelty based on their culture/skin colour etc. I don't know what you all go through. I see it second hand only.

This post is largely inspired by the death and prosecution of Texan resident Sandra Bland, an African American woman who was pulled over by a white police man for a minor traffic violation, was subsequently treated in a discriminatory manner, arrested and died after three days in police custody.
I also was inspired by the Twitter exchange between Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj and the Instagram picture that Kylie Jenner posted with Amandla Stenberg commenting a reply.

I posted about Amandla in this blog post and also discussed young people who use their voices to speak out about issues that affect them.

While trying to educate myself further I came across an article from Indiewire which talks about black celebrities in the US are trying to be heard over the loud and powerful white celebrities which makes interesting points. Read it here.

I also read an article on a very good, educational and expressive magazine called Ebony, which is dedicated to the African American market. Ebony is a magazine that is released once a month for the African American market. Founded in 1945 by John H. Johnson it covers the exact same things as magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue etc, topics such as careers and finance, love and sex, life, style and entertainment etc. An interesting article talked about how Amandla was labelled an "angry black girl" and talks about how she should be given the same rights to speak and express her opinion. Read it here.

I’ve never ever been told by my parents growing up that having different colour skin makes you less of a person. Never. I can’t recall a moment where my parents told me black and white people were any different from one another other than the colour of their skin. But it’s very easy for me to comment on this when I haven’t experienced racism in any shape or form.



In my third year of secondary school I studied the novel “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry” a novel set in the deep south of North America in the 1930's. I don't like to use Wikipedia as a reference much anymore as in college we are told not to use it, but in this case it gives a good summary of the novel.
Films such as 12 Years A Slave and Django Unchained depict the horrifying cruelty that black people were subjected to on cotton plantations. All these films have been deemed monumental, inspiring and masterpieces in their own right. They are in the field of film. It just makes me sad to think that most of these novels or films have a large basis in truth or in fact are based on true stories. Real people lived through those times of oppression, cruelty and slavery. Obviously it’s important to note that TODAY, black people go through the same harsh treatment by members of the public all over the world.
I found this on Twitter while scrolling through hashtags.

In 2012, when gorgeous Amandla Stenberg was revealed as the actress to play Rue in The Hunger Games film, portions of the media went haywire. Some fans of the book stated they would not watch the film because of the choice of actress. I was very confused at the time. I remembering thinking, she’s (Amandla) beautiful, why are they so offended by this? I then went and started flicking through the pages of the novel “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. There was no mention of Rue being white. For some reason, I wasn’t affected by the choice of a black actress. It genuinely did not matter to me. But for many readers it did and that fact alone should make you think.

Source a tabloid magazine who I knew would take Kylie's side.
Look at the use of the word "attack". 
Amandla is a very outspoken young woman. I personally am in awe of her intelligence.
Kylie Jenner posted an image of herself on instagram wearing cornrows, accompanied with the hashtag #whitegirlsdoitbetter. Amandla criticised Kylie's use of the hashtag and stated that Kylie should use her power and influence to spread awareness on police brutality. Something that was interesting about this story was that in many articles talking of the exchange between the two teenagers they stated that Amandla “attacked” Kylie. This word suggests that Amandla was verbally abusive, cruel or even defamatory towards 17 year old Kylie.

Amandla "slams" Miley. Another suggestion of violence or threat.
The truth is that 16 year old Amandla did nothing of the sort. She just spoke about cultural appropriation. I had to research those words to understand them fully. The definition of cultural appropriation is "the use or adoption of parts of a culture, by members of a different culture". Usually, members of a dominant culture take parts of an oppressed culture and take it as their own.

Many portions of the media also ran with the label “angry black girl” which Amandla responded with the tweet:

Watch the clip of Amandla talking about cultural appropriation on my post here.

Amandla's response on Kylie's photo.
Many uneducated and cruel white people tried to hijack the hash tag #blacklivesmatter to protest that
white lives matter too and why should black peoples’ lives get more priority than white lives. 
My take on the trend is that the hashtag #blacklivesmatter is being used by black people to make the point that their lives matter too and use the word “black” only as MANY MANY times in the past black lives have been depicted as nothing, as worthless. This is not my opinion of course. When you recall the cases of Eric GarnerSandra Bland and Tamir Rice in most of these cases the victims (all of which were black Americans) were treated in an unthinking and cruel way.

Important to note that these three people are dead.
I'm terrified posting this. I'm worried people will think that I am talking about an issue I have no part in, that I, a white person have no right to talk about this issue or that I, Eilis think I'm somehow a voice for black people when I clearly am not. I just think black people are treated very unfairly.
Genuinely I'm shocked and sickened by the cruelty that black people live with. I honestly just think it's time that white people as a whole should start accepting black people and their culture. Black people are not inferior, they should be and ARE equal to us in intelligence, beauty and determination.

I hope that this post has not caused offense, that you were inspired to stand up against racism or that 
you agree with me. I actually have no idea where the world can start to start tackling this issue. There are so many people unwilling to accept change and to open their eyes to these people and their cultures. But I know that I will tell any young child under my care and my young cousins that every one you meet should be treated in the same fair manner, no matter what skin colour they are.

Photos are not my own, they are used for educational purposes only. Full rights to the owners.

Thanks so much for reading.

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  1. Brilliant post Eilis. I agree with youcompletely. My parents always made a point of tellingme that coloured people were equal to white people. The sad truth is racism will never end just like sexism will never end but as I have said inone of my own blog posts about this same issue, we need to fight it as much as we can.


I love hearing feedback, all constructive criticism welcome!