Trevor M. Michigan

Racism in America

One of the greatest problems that divides our nation today needs to be addressed first and foremost when our new president comes to office.

Everybody is created equal. Four simple words that have so much truth in them, but society decides to make it false. It is the foundation of our great nation, and yet, those four words, are currently bringing that foundation crumbling to the ground. It appears as if we are going back in time, and our country is yet again oppressing racial groups, specifically African Americans. But, what do I know about this problem? I'm a privileged white kid living in a town with nearly no diversity whatsoever. I never see any of this in everyday life. However, every single time I turn on the television there's a new protest, or another murder of an African American. In the beginning they cause rage, but our society has become numb to it. Its shocking if you turn on the news and one of those stories don't pop up. It's quite sad. Our society is one that progresses in this new world, but we seem to be reverting to our old ways when it come to this topic of racism. In order to move forward in this world I believe that our law enforcement should abide by their rules, protests and showings of freedom of speech should be done lawfully and peacefully, people must use meaningful action to bring peaceful resolution.

First and most important, the amount of police shootings involving African Americans is through the roof. Seemingly every week seemingly there is another story of an innocent black person getting brutally shot by the cops. A stat that amazed me from 2015 is that “Only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime, and only 2 of these deaths (Matthew Ajibade and Eric Harris) resulted in convictions of officers involved. Only 1 of 2 officers convicted for their involvement in Matthew Ajibade's death received jail time. He was sentenced to 1 year in jail and allowed to serve this time exclusively on weekends. Deputy Bates, who killed Eric Harris, will be sentenced May 31.” First of all, the fact that an average of two African Americans were killed every week is appalling and that should not happen. Especially based on the fact that they all were unarmed. If they were to appear threatening to the police officer in question, they would have to do so with their fists or body, which is no match to the gun or taser that the officer has. Every life is worth something, so is it really necessary that you must take the life of someone who stands no chance against you? Getting to the second part of the statistic, these police officers that commit these “murders” are not being held accountable for them. As stated in the first line of my essay, everyone is created equal, so therefore in a courtroom a police officer who works for the state should not be treated differently than any other gang banger on the streets. This is unjust, and has no place to be in our government based on total and complete justice for those who deserve it.

Second, people are allowed to form groups and protest about what they believe as long as it is lawfully done. However as the saying goes, violence solves nothing, and this has proven true so far on the terms of racism. If you're trying to stop violence against African Americans, why start more. Recently in North Carolina, a seemingly innocent black man was shot and killed, and a protest then took place, “ Authorities in Charlotte tried to quell public outrage Wednesday after a police officer shot a black man, but a dusk prayer vigil turned into a march that ended with the gunshot death of a protester.” It's a bit ironic in my eyes, the very reason these people are protesting is the reason that one of them died. The fact that they're protesting is great, we want the public to be engaged with current events and what they believe is right, and we should continue to support that. But all of this is rendered null and void if these protests turn violent, and then nothing is learned, and the public sees this as more hate crime, not steps in the right direction.

Finally, actions upon this topic are stronger than words, but we must take meaningful actions in order to “fix” the problem. Many people (including myself) have lots of things to say, and ideas to bring up about said topic, but the only people that make a difference are ones that take have a high profile. They have the most influence on the general public. One of the actions that is generating the most press is one that was taken by an NFL quarterback, and followed by many other sports figures. This was a controversial doing, kneeling during our national anthem, but, however, it has sparked intense conversation about social injustice. A quote from someone who talked to the quarterback says, “Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it, there are already plenty of people fighting fire with fire, and it’s just not helping anyone or anything. So I’m just going to keep listening, with an open mind’.” Here is shown the positive effects of someone with a large stage to protest on, and how their message reaches a larger audience. It can make people stop and think, not only act with rage and violence. This is so important because this is not a subject that people can just look over, they need to be involved in it one way or another, and we must have a civil conversation about it and try to find a solution.

It is no question that racism is at an all time high in this country. It is no doubt one of the largest topics that our next president will have to face. It cannot be neglected more. We are all equal in theory, but in the real world it surely isn't that way. Our country as a whole needs to advocate more time towards this cause. We need to have days and events allocated specifically for awareness towards the injustices that still live in our country. People like myself don't know all of the struggles that these people go through everyday. I can try to relate to them, but I cannot fully do so. We must progress as a nation, and in order to do that there must be laws in place to protect African American and other discriminated against races from police brutality and, in turn calm down our roaring nation. The next president of the United States must address the problems within our law and justice system, quell the violent uprisings of protests, and also promote those who shed light on the topic on a national stage.