“Brother, brother, brother...there’s far too many of you dying.”
These are some lyrics to one of my favorite songs, “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye that have been playing over in my head recently, due to what’s been going on concerning more black lives being needlessly taken by people in, and attempting to act as law enforcement.
I know the way you’re reading that goes a bit against our regular writing format but the two names you see deserve to stand out in this way.
Ahmaud Arbery--who was unarmed--was gunned down by two individuals who claimed they were making a citizen’s arrest concerning burglaries in the Satilla Shores, Ga. area.
George Floyd--also unarmed-- who was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill, was arrested and pinned down by several officers. He cried for help, stating that he couldn’t breathe until he died in the hands of Minneapolis Police.
Whether its burglary or using counterfeit money, neither of these men should have died.
This is not the first time that there have been cases of officers, or those who act in the name of the law, using excessive or extreme force against African Americans or any people of color who are undeserving of this kind of treatment. This is nothing new.
There have been countless cases in our nations history of police brutalizing and killing unarmed black men, women and children for the most petty crimes or no crime at all and there’s no longer denying it.
Black people and other minorities have been targeted by police since the very start of policing in this country.
What’s worse than all these killings, is that a lot of times, officers and those acting in the name of the law get away with it, either by not being arrested or not being convicted.
Before I go any further, I want to make something clear.
These actions by these officers and those acting in the name of the law are racist.
The root is racism.
Of course, abuse of power is also a major issue when it comes to these cases, but I find it very interesting that the abuses of said power by individuals in these positions seem to affect minorities more than anyone else.
There are literally laws, such as stop-and-frisk, that are set up to allow law enforcement to target minority groups and question them with little or no reason to do so.
We’ve now seen the outcry on social media concerning these events, we’ve seen the apologies and sorrow from various law enforcement organizations, but frankly, it’s not enough.
Something needs to change from the ground up.
I’m not a cop, I don’t know what it is to act as one, but I’m telling you, there is no excuse for these killings that have happened.
None of the men in these situations were so dangerous that they needed to kneel on their necks or shoot them multiple times with a shotgun.
In the past, I used to be someone who would respond to these sort of events with, “Well, let’s wait until the full story is out.”
Now, I just can’t do it. I can’t imagine any scenario within these events that would justify these people, who were acting in the name of law and order, to kill these men.
There is simply no justification.
These men were unarmed and in a lot of the cases like this, these men are found to have been innocent.
I hope that all of the men face charges and serve time, but if I’m being honest, it’s not enough. Racism never went away, black people are still hated for being black. Let’s stop acting like this isn’t the case.
It’s 2020 and black people are still being brutalized and targeted by police officers because of how they look.
I’ve seen and known friends that have been stopped by police for “fitting the description.”
I’VE been stopped for “fitting the description” by someone who wasn’t even police!
Technically speaking, I’m also white because I have an Italian father, but after I went through my first couple years of middle school, I have always told people I’m black.
Here’s why: To call myself anything other than black, for me, is to try to cover myself from any sort of abuse I could face as a black person in this country.
I could’ve gone all throughout my school career telling kids I’m black AND white, but you know what, that wouldnt have stopped them from seeing me as I am.
It wouldn’t have stopped them from pouring and splashing milk on me while they called me the n-word at lunch.
It wouldn’t have stopped them from making their funny little songs about black people that they seemed to only sing when I was around.
It wouldn’t stop them from laughing and peering back at me whenever the n-word was in one of our class readings.
It wouldn’t stop my friends from asking me the stupid “Is it true that black people (insert stereotype here)” questions that I always tolerate because I’m afraid of losing friendship with them.
I’ve heard people try to downplay the abuse that black people face in this country and I’m just so tired of it.
Black people in this country are treated unfairly. End of story.
It’s up to us to fix this problem. Ending racism sounds unrealistic and too big to tackle, but to act like racism isn’t alive and right in our faces is to lie to ourselves and doesn’t solve anything.
We, especially the younger ones reading this can do our part.
We have to unlearn racism, we have to teach our children to tear down prejudices when we hear or see them.
We have to be accepting and tolerating of all cultures, whether we agree with they’re practices or not.
People are literally dying because of the color of their skin. This is still happening in 2020 and it is unreal to think about it.
When you hear people saying they feel oppressed, it has to be our outright conviction to respond and try to help.
I may not have hit every point in this column and for those I offend by missing something, I apologize.
In this topic of racial injustice/abuse, I can only tell you what I know or what I’ve experienced.
I’ve been guilty of being silent on this subject for a long time, but the time for silence when it comes to injustice has to be over for all of us.
I moved here to this county from New York.
If I can be honest, I was a little afraid being a person of color moving to a small southern town because of the racial “bad-rap” the south historically gets.
I’ve not faced any injustice or abuse because of my race or background aside from the occasional person recognizing that I’m a “yankee” (which I always find very funny).
Most in this county seem to be respecting of those who don’t look or act like them, but lets further this kindness by sticking up for these people if we ever see them being wronged.
I’ve been in contact with a lot of law enforcement here and all of them have treated me with respect and do their jobs incredibly and fairly.
Not all cops are as bad as the individuals who abuse their power against minorities, but when it’s seen that the men and woman representing law enforcement are abusing minorities, it isn’t the time to stand in defense of law enforcement.
It’s a time to listen to the cries of the abused and look in your own hearts and look at the men and woman you’re working with and make sure that you never allow such things to happen in our county.
This is a tough and complicated time, and I’m not sure when it will get better.
It’s hard to be hopeful in these times, but we all should be.
Things can’t continue like this, let’s love each other unconditionally and watch out for each other.
“Brother, brother, brother...there’s far too many of you dying.”