Poor people lose. Poor people lose all the time. Steven Avery, Making a Murderer
Christmas Eve found me shredding cheese and shouting at my tablet. To the glee of my cats, the angrier I got, the more food was flung about as I yelled at the Netflix binge-worthy series Making a Murderer. Between rolling out dough for cinnamon rolls, and mixing the ingredients for our traditional meal of Sausage Cheese Balls, I couldn’t wipe my hands fast enough to tweet out my frustration of this Law & Order episode gone wrong.
I wasn’t alone in my disbelief. Many others shared their incredulity as the law officials of Manitowoc County trampled over the Constitutional rights of Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey all to make the case of the murder of Teresa Hallbach. This true crime story continues to fascinate, as evidenced by the countless articles (the irony of my adding to the count does not escape me) and a petition to have the two men pardoned for “their alleged involvement in the murder of Teresa Hallbach”.
The numbers of Tweets and Facebook messages from people in disbelief of the misdeeds in the documentary is understandable if one has been living in a cave for the last year. For many parents who have watched their children fade into the day, this is just another example of the miscarriage of justice that happens daily in most Black communities.
<H2>Black Lives Matter</H2>
I had become the one thing I promised myself not to be. A Tweetivist. A Tweetivist is someone who tweets something and goes on about their lives, not really giving a damn about the cause. I felt like my 140 characters was enough to express my outrage, my part was over.
Then The Boy asked for a BB Gun so he can practice target shooting for his Eagle Scout award. When I was younger, I loved target practicing, fancying myself as the next Annie Oakley. My uncle would line my sister, cousins, and myself up and teach us gun safety. When we went to amusement parks, I could be found with one eye trained on a target, the air humming with pings. My son will never know the release of hitting a moving target. He will never know the thrill of shooting mechanical ducks for a cheap toy. If I let my son use a gun that isn’t a part of Call of Duty, someone may dig up that picture as proof that he deserved what he got.
I was like Mamie Till-Mobley, never worrying that my child would be in trouble. I have the Superintendent of the Upper Darby Police in my cell phone. I rub arms with Senators and Congressman. Both of my children are on first name basis with reporters, cops, judges, township officials. We don’t need no Black Lives Matters.
Yet, we do.
One day, there will not be a township official who will vouch for The Boy, warning the rookie cop that I’m not afraid to use my crazy or my pen to demand justice. The Teen (I’m considering My Mini Me) won’t get the benefit of the doubt when she turns without signaling, and my last words to her will have been “Don’t forget to put gas in my car”.
— AndStarringAsHerself (@mrsrkfj) December 25, 2015
Black Lives Matter is not just for the Mike Browns, Freddie Grays, or Eric Gardners. This movement is for a system that continually disenfranchises people because of the color of their skin, the balance of their bank account, the zip code they reside. Making a Murderer caused such a visceral reaction because like me, there are people who are realizing that the system we were raised to believe and trust in is sometimes wrong.
I will continue to fight for the right thing, be it undocumented immigrant to a man-child caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. For all the outrage, I can’t help but wonder where all these pious folks were when Tamir Rice was killed playing with a BB Gun in the park or Trayvon Martin was trying to get back home after picking up a snack. Both of these CHILDREN were let down by an unjust system, yet no petitions are being filed (to my knowledge) to have their reputations wiped clean.
Steven Avery was no stranger to trouble with the law. His whole family were known to Manitowoc police for being less than stellar citizens. However, a petition has been filed to have a Avery and his nephew exonerated for the charges. Why does a man who had some trouble with the law in the past get a chance at a new roll of the dice when two children were killed and their deaths were justified because “they didn’t listen”, “they were big for their age”, “the gun looked real”, or “they seemed suspicious.”
Comparing Making a Murderer to the Black Lives Matter movement is not to make one cause less important than the other. The Black Lives Matter movement demands that Blacks be given a fair chance. We don’t want a hand out, just a chance to start the race without a hinderance. We don’t want to be given handouts, just equal footing to start. We want to earn our spots without a hidden rule book. You know, living life in a way that a white person never has to consider.
All ten episodes of Making a Murderer are available on Netflix.