A Black Man as a Hashtag: #Alton #Sterling and Digital Civil Rights

Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth


Photo By: Shannon Wallace, http://www.blacksandblues.com

I haven’t been sleeping, but my skin is clean.

I looked in the mirror this morning and noticed that my eyes have been a tint of red for the past few days. I am notorious (only to myself) for not looking in the mirror. I shower, get dressed and dash out the door without much of a thought to my appearance. I just try to be clean, which I feel that is enough as I am not interested in being a beauty queen.

I was up worrying about Black people. The news hit late last night about Alton Sterling´s assassination by Baton Rouge Police. Trigger happy, gun hungry mentally ill men can join the police force to feed their their sick sadistic, murderous hungers. All those movies and documentaries about serial killers talk about how these people have a ¨hunger¨, a yearning and a need to torture and kill their fellow man. Why don´t we make tv shows and videos about twisted cops?

Not dirty cops – not corrupt cops, mentally ill, American Psycho Cops.

I laid in bed and racked my brain about the past. I tried to reference and compare this era to the past. I tried to complain, ¨The 90s were much better.¨ Then the image of Rodney King getting beaten and O.J. Simpon´s face sitting the courtroom flashed across the back of my eyes like a 60s french film´s colorful vignette. That made me pause, but in retrospect of that retrospection I realize that King didn’t die and O.J.´s celebrity and popularity was enough to get him off.

¨The 90s were much better.¨

We didn’t have social media, and Black men weren’t being killed execution style on the nightly news.

A Black Man as a Hashtag

Once I wrote those words above, I had a short daydream of what Alton Sterling’s arm and elbow felt like. I saw my hand clutch his muscle, to feel his flesh and remember that he was a body.

Writer, Fire Angelou says often ¨My Black Body¨, ¨The Black Body¨ and I understand what she means. I have a Black body and my small brown fingers clutching Alton´s arm, with respect, kindness and the need to keep him in memory reveals a desperation and a stress that I have never experienced before.

A Black Man as a Hashtag
A New Public Lynching
Reality Murder
Real Time Hatred

On your television at 8 pm every night. All episodes are uploaded to Youtube within the minute.

If no one tells you again, Alton.
I love you. Let me not be the last.


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