Another day. Another hashtag. Another Black boy’s life stolen from us.
Another family ripped to pieces by a bullet from an officer that was supposed to serve and protect
(everyone except Black bodies).
Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old Black boy was murdered by a police officer after leaving a party that was becoming “too rowdy”.
Since his murder, we have heard his family (and others) mourn his loss by sharing that he had a high GPA and was on the honor roll.
Social media has responded to learning of Jordan’s academic standing by saying that his grades/honor roll status don’t matter because he didn’t deserve to die, even if he didn’t perform well academically.
And they’re right. He didn’t deserve to die, regardless of his grades. But they DO matter.
We know that Black children are met with egregious obstacles within the American education system. Poor school environments, culturally incompetent teachers, lack of funding, school pushout…just to name a few.
So when one of our babies excels academically, you can bet your bottom dollar that we are going to celebrate them.
No, Jordan’s grades/honor roll standing didn’t shield him from the bullet that stole his (young) life. Just like earning a higher education doesn’t protect Black students from racism, misogynoir or systemic injustice.
But Jordan’s family deserves the right to mourn his loss and celebrate his academic success, any way that they see fit. They won’t get the chance to see what else he could have become.
We have to stop “all lives matter-ing” Black lives. WE know that ALL Black lives matter. That is at the crux of what we are fighting for with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Yes, respectability politics are real AND problematic. That doesn’t mean that Jordan’s honor roll standing didn’t matter, too. Both of these things can be true at the same time. They aren’t mutually exclusive.
Jordan’s life didn’t matter any more or less than our kids who don’t make it out of high school. His life mattered, simply because he was ALIVE. He was a CHILD.
So yes, Jordan Edwards’ grades matter because they mattered to HIS family.
Jordan lived a life that included academic success and his family wants that to be remembered. Let them have that.
His grades were just one part of the life that he lived. Unfortunately, America’s racism has robbed us of ever knowing what else his story could have been.