In the past two days, two black men — Alton B. Sterling and Philando Castile — have been shot and killed by police. Both men were unarmed but in possession of weapons. Both men were apparently killed because officers feared these untouched weapons.
What is doubly enraging, as if murder by the state isn’t enough justifiable cause for anger, is that these murders only matter because they were caught on film.
A society where blackness is taught to be an object of aggression, crime, and villainy is a society that is complicit in the resulting violence. As long as white people fear black, there will be allowance for violence.
Yes, officers are ultimately to blame for their actions; but we as a society have enabled them to act in such ways. Inflammatory language, oppressive practices, mass incarceration, limited access to education, health care, and jobs — these are all symptoms of a centuries old hatred Americans have for each other.
We are to blame for these deaths. And that is why I am angry.
#BlueHolocaust is a reaction to police brutality. The six piece watercolor and ink paintings depict three young blacks killed by police and three boys saved from the Holocaust. The full narrative can be read here: #BlueHolocaust
K Ryan Henisey is an award winning artist, writer, and teacher. For more of his paintings, illustrated children’s poetry, musings, and more visit http://kryanhenisey.com.