When I was younger my dad use to tell me not to wear the hood on my sweatshirts. He said it would make me look suspicious and become a target in the eyes of cops. I can only wish that was the case in today’s world. Black men and women are being murdered in front of our eyes for simply living as everyone else does. Yet as a black person there is a higher chance that when you encounter a cop, your chances of getting killed are much higher than anyone else.The fact that I can obey a cops commands and still get shot for doing them is appalling. Even more so, that the officer would not be held accountable for their actions. Just paid leave for a few months and they can get their job back. That is the real crime. Any black person can be the next hashtag on twitter, and the next name added along side of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland and all of the other black lives that were cut short.
Interactions between law enforcement and blacks have always been strained. In my 26 years of life, I have never been as afraid to see a cop on the street as I have been the past year. I live on the south side of Chicago, where shootings happen daily, but I feel the most unsafe in the presence of a cop because I don’t know how they’ll react to me. I don’t want to have anything to do with them honestly, and I’ll think twice about calling 911 because I could be seen as the criminal. These are people that are hired and trained to serve and protect its citizens, to de-escalate situations so that everybody has a chance to go home. That chance is more aimed towards the officers safety rather than anyone else. If you let the media tell it, that is how it should be.
Being black means you will always be seen as a threat no matter the situation. Each time after these shootings, most popular media outlets on TV portrays the shooting as if it was justified even before the facts behind the shooting comes out. They will have delved into the victims background to find any and every dirty secret they have. In an attempt to say that their past actions justifies their death. In contrast to when a white person commits an act of violence within this country, they are not even presented as a criminal by the media, but more of a troubled individual.
An example of this is Dylan Roof, the 22-year-old that killed nine Blacks that were attending bible study at church, in Charleston, South Carolina. A hate crime and a act of domestic terrorism, but it was treated as a crime by a troubled youth with mental issues. Mind you he was a armed and dangerous individual, yet he was capture alive without any injuries to him or to the officers.Guess they didn’t feel threatened. While Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man whose car stalled on the highway, had his hands up and presented himself as a non threat was shot and killed. It’s not about race though, right? Roof stated he “Wanted to start a race war.” The media could barely stomach to say that, even when it came from the killers own mouth and the fact that he was white and all his victims were black. The fact that the media is so scared to talk about the systemic racism that goes on within this world against people of color, shows that this country has a long way to go in terms of equality for everybody.
Being a person of color means you will struggle more because we don’t have the same equal opportunities like our counterparts. You will be treated differently purely based off the color of your skin. It’s a constant uphill battle that black people have to fight just to be accepted as a human being. I encourage all of my fellow people of color to continue to fight, and fight hard. They want us to back down, but the prejudices that pervades amongst society can no longer be ignored. We can no longer be ignored. A light is showing the evil that lurks within this society. It’s time to remind them of this America they love so much was built on the bones of natives and with the blood, sweat, and tears of enslaved blacks. It is still being built with the blood, sweat and tears of blacks and people of color whose voices will be heard.