“Slavery ended over a hundred years ago. Why can’t you people just get over it and realize that racism doesn’t exist anymore?”
Slavery “ended” on January 1, 1863. The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1865. The Civil Rights Movement began in 1954. Emmitt Till was murdered at the age of 14 in 1955. Oscar Grant was shot in the back by an officer who “thought it was his taser” in 2009. Sandy Hook Elementary school was attacked, children were murdered, and families were left devastated in 2012. The shooter was only taken out by his own bullet. A movie theater was attacked, 12 people died, and the shooter was deemed insane. Trayvon Martin at 17 years old was shot and killed in 2012 for looking suspicious to a trigger happy neighbor. Eric Garner, father of six, was choked on film in 2014 for selling untaxed cigarettes. Michael Brown at the age of 18 was shot to death in 2014. Sandra Bland died from asphyxiation in her jail cell 2015. A black church in Charleston, SC was attacked by a gunman who was there to “kill black people.” Nine people were killed, including the head pastor of the church, and the killer was arrested alive. Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were both shot point blank in 2016 by law enforcement. A massacre took place at a night club in Orlando in 2016 due to homophobia. How far removed are we really from the Jim Crow law era?
Black people have been treated poorly in this country for centuries. Injustice has become something not that we face, but something we are taught to deal with from birth. But in the midst of being learned citizens about our history, we are taught to be strong, independent, and unbothered by oppressive circumstances. This is what Du Bois calls “double consciousness (The Souls of Black Folk, 45).” We are made to be fully aware of a two-sided perception society gives us, which includes knowing the person we are, as well as being fully perceptive of how society views us. It would seem that in the late 1800’s and early to mid 1900’s this idea would be more prominent than it would be in the 21st century, but that isn’t the case. Injustice has been taking place all over the world regardless of the legislation put in place to stop it. The only difference between today and 100 years ago is the injustice is being filmed more often. People who are unarmed are being killed by the people who are supposed to be protecting them, people are still being killed for their sexual orientation, and there has been minimal results in the minimal legal acts taken to stop it.
I do not think that rioting is our best way to counteract injustices, even though when peaceful protests and political sit-downs take place nothing really happens. Instead, how about we come up with better ways to educate our communities such as funding our public schools better. How about building more infrastructure or funding more programs that will give kids more incentive to go to school so they can be better prepared to work and less interested in street crime because they have no hope for gaining a decent income. How about we have a better screening policy for the police who are in each community so that they are trained to be better prepared in situations where they feel threatened which excludes being trigger happy. Du Bois talks about during slavery, when poor white workers were put in place to “police” the black slaves. This gave the white workers some feeling of status as to always keep them feeling better or more important than blacks. This feeling of superiority has left most “red” state populations with still, very similar feelings. I’ve said before, the worst thing you can be born as in this country is a black male. How about we be honest for once in history and accept and try to understand that injustice is happening and instead of just always “talking about it” why don’t we get off our assess to force the government into a corner to where they have to do something about it. How about we stop being so capitalistic and selfish and realize that as a nation we are suffering and in order to stop, we need to begin helping one another more often. The great thing about our society is that everybody gets a piece of this great big economic pie, but if the people in power are hoarding the big pieces for themselves and their families, the people who the economy needs to prosper the most are not going to get enough of the pie. And then riots happen. How about we stop making people feel so oppressed. Can we begin learning from the history and instead of regressing into it, how abut we begin turning away from it. I don’t understand how Germany can get it right after all these years, yet we still can’t get our shit together here. People were enslaved, persecuted and left to die because of their skin color or ethnic background. But yet we love to fly our flag high in the sky as the most accepting and free country in the world. Well it’s not. It’s becoming the opposite. People are still being persecuted in ways that aren’t necessarily face to face or physical but they are still feeling it. Until the tragedies end, there will be people up in arms. We need to educate our society better. We need to put an end to injustice.