Dear Next President,
According to the Huffington Post, at least 194 African American lives were taken at the hands of police officers so far this year. Many of the officers who unjustly took these lives and tore apart families were seen as “not guilty” at the end of their trial. Don’t get me wrong, I respect cops. I have an uncle who is a cop and a great grandfather who was a cop. Law enforcement officers sacrifice their lives every day for the safety of citizens. They put their lives on the line to help others. However, the issue that I want to discuss is the cops who specifically target black males, and use their authority out of proportion. These individuals are the ones giving law enforcement a bad name, and reputation.
My own cousin, when asked why it was taking so long for him to get his driver’s license, replied with, “I’m a young, black male.” He should not have to be afraid of driving due to the color of his skin and its potential consequence if he were to get pulled over. My own father, when he was 17, got pulled over by a cop and when asked for his registration, my father reached over to the glove compartment to get it out. Immediately, the cop put his hand on his gun and pulled it out, aiming it at the back of my father’s head, automatically assuming he was going to start a problem. Oftentimes, law enforcement can be prejudiced against African Americans, instantly feeling threatened by or uncomfortable in their presence. All around the world, African Americans, male and female, are stripped of the ability to feel safe, as the ones who are supposed to be protecting us can end up being the ones who decide our fate.
What can be done to solve this? First of all, law enforcement officers and the black community need to come together and familiarize themselves with each other, aiding in the destruction of stereotypes by talking and explaining what is expected from both sides of the community. Additionally, I strongly believe that cops with a racist background should not be hired. Just by checking online social media accounts, a lot can be discovered about a person and their beliefs. With prejudiced cops comes hatred and closed-mindedness, which doesn’t help anybody in a potential situation. Furthermore, rubber bullets should be considered. They’re effective as they cause pain but minimize serious injury, and are almost always not deadly.
In the future, I want my children to grow up and to embrace being part-African-American. I want them to feel safe and secure when they walk outside. I want them to not feel judged based on the color of their skin. I want them to be proud of their history and of their ancestors for fighting for equal rights. Black Lives Matter. Cops Lives Matter. All Lives Matter.