Even when Americans visit Africa, black lives still don’t matter

During a visit to Africa on Monday, Samantha Power, an ambassador of the United States, made her way to Moloko in Cameroon to meet with people who had been displaced by the Boko Haram attacks. Unfortunately, one of the cars in her envoy hit an 8-year-old boy on the way for their meeting. The incident reportedly occurred in a village near Moloko, where residents had lined the roads to witness the procession. The anonymous boy crossed onto the highway and was hit by one of the cars in the fast moving convoy. The driver, who news sources claim is a Cameroonian man, initially stopped, but was ordered to continue driving by the American security forces, while an ambulance immediately attended to him. He was reportedly taken to the local hospital, but he eventually died.

Power, along with other US and Cameroonian officials, reportedly visited the boy’s family to offer their “profound condolences and to express [their] grief and heartbreak over what the family is going through.” The US officials have not commented on plans to compensate the boy’s family.

It’s quite interesting that the cost of the life of an African is condolences and an expression of grief. Let’s flip the script and imagine how this would have played out assuming an African diplomat’s convoy hit a US citizen (a child for that matter). If an African diplomat is in the US, chances are that he or she is not going to have a convoy, the person will probably be assigned a police escort, and that’s it.

So if the African diplomat’s car hit a child, particularly a white child, what he or she immediately gets is flashbulbs going off in their faces as the law enforcement agencies arrive, with the accompaniment of a slew of humiliating headlines. The aftermath of this is the placard-bearing, angry, white community demanding that the diplomat be banned from the meeting he has gone there to attend. If the American child died like the Cameroonian boy did, a note of condolence (a visit is completely out of it) will never be enough; he or she becomes a potential terrorist and risks giving their country a bad reputation which may never be redeemed.

Black lives matter, however, even though there is a movement in the US (known as Black Lives Matter), which constantly draws attention to the ways in which black people are intentionally left powerless in the hands of authorities, actions that trivialise black people are set in motion daily.

Even if the advocacy for equal rights for black people in the US continues, why are black lives still cheap even in Africa which is supposed to be their home?

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