Much debate and focus has been given to the racism discussion, or the lack thereof. Not so much as to how has the civil rights movement atmosphere came back, but more so did it really leave? If you were to ask Whites and Blacks, you’re more than likely to get two different answers. It’s no surprise with the given controversy aroused from the judicial proceedings of John Crawford, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and even Trayvon Martin, the racial discussion takes an even deeper toil between two worlds living in the same country, but with vast different perspectives of the country in which they live.
When the Michael Brown tragedy struck, followed by the social media explosion of the events and the ensuing protest that followed, it became “the hay that broke the camels back”. However this tragedy, which illustrated the lack of preservation for life by police departments and the harassment and other forms of brutality, was not a foreign entity to the black community. The utter shock of media reporters who ventured to Ferguson and white activist who joined the fight proved the distinction that we live in two different Americas. With platforms such as twitter and Facebook becoming avenues for expressing oneself, this became the perfect storm to bring forth the plights and mistreatment of the black communities throughout the country. Even some blacks, who are far removed from the black community, such as President Barack Obama were vastly unaware of the disconnect between police/white society and the black community stating that “he doesn’t believe this happens everywhere” unfortunately he was misspeaking. So how can we say as a nation we are equal when one side fails to address the privilege of some citizens and the harsh treatment of others?
Judicially speaking, which is a prominent token for racial bias; equality and race seems to be statistically skewed. Recent studies even point to the analysis that majority of white Americans who were polled, were in favor of harsher penalties of the law if they punished blacks harsher. So it’s not surprising that blacks are punished 2-5 times more harshly for the same crimes as their white counterparts. This stigma has led to more blacks in jail because of the longer sentencing, accompanied by not being able to push them out, while still accepting more. This even suggests that black neighborhoods need to be patrolled more because we have a considerable amount of the prison population, therefore falsely characterizing as committing a considerable amount of the crime despite studies showing blacks are no more likely to commit a crime than whites. While some believe that it’s not entirely about race, there is no denying that there is a great deal of concentration on the race of jurors in court proceedings and whom a lawyer decides to remove or retain on juror selections. This is more so because we hold sympathy for those we identify with and hold a propaganda influenced mind frame for those we know nothing about, particularly in the dominant society. Not only does this play for police patrolling and sentencing but also on society’s perception of the African-American community. Society has never been in favor of criminals and those who commit crimes of any sort; even more so white society has a habit of lumping black people together in a category while they use the excuse “we’re not like our past”. So society sees propaganda of painting this dark cloud over the black community plagued with violence, drug abuse and other criminal activity while never once venturing into the black community.
The reality however is that most blacks aren’t criminals and are taught for survival in a world that will not provide an equal chance. We even tell our youth, you have to work twice as hard, ensuring the mentality that true equality does not exist if a person has to work twice as hard to be noticed in order to out-shadow his skin color for others comfort. We tell our youth to beware of dangers with law enforcement and plights of the community. That’s why it is ultimately appalling to the black community when Darren Wilson fabricated stories of being attacked inside his police cruiser, because we know the likelihood of a 17-year-old kid doing this with no prior record is less than getting bit by a shark on dry land. Eric Garner is a prime example of what its like to be constantly harassed and fed up. When we watch 12-year-old Tamir Rice gunned down 2 seconds after the arrival of a police officer, it shows the perception of police mentality when engaging with black citizens. When we watch the police department state Tamir as a “young man” and not a kid or child we know the propaganda being worked to heightened the fear of the black community and the justification of their actions.
The anger spilled onto the streets all over the country is not because we are violent, but because we are tired of our problems being ignored. Like a child who sits in class raising his hand patiently waiting to be called on by a teacher with no desire to address him, while other students are continuously being listened to and answered, until that child has had enough of being ignored and stands up and forces the class and teacher to listen he wont be heard. That student is the black community, those other children who got called on are all of the other challenges of society that we have addressed and that teacher is America. We were heard because of the voices we lent, tweets we tweeted and so forth, so when people saw how fed up and important our lives and equality became to us, so much so that we took a “by any means necessary” approach, the attention was grasp. Racism has been a discussion that has not been truly talked about instead its been either ignored or pacified. Instead they put certain laws such as affirmative action or create civil rights groups in the workplace and think this addresses the problem and wonder why we have Ferguson today. We shouldn’t have to march to get people to understand black lives matter, we shouldn’t have to protest to be heard, and it shouldn’t take a black person dying for media to show our difficulties with police and racism today. Until there is a real dialogue about true racism, a genuine understanding of the black community, true admittance of white privilege and a true apologetic nature of society from historical and statistical facts displaying the blatant racism in America, there cannot and will not be a move forward.