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The Racial Line Between White and Black in the 21st Century

Updated: Nov 27, 2020

It’s All Lives Matter Until Being Black Is Seen as a Weapon.

“What's the point of having a voice if you're gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn't be?”Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

It's no doubt that 2020 will be a year that will be written in history for years and centuries to come and has been a year like no other year prior in the 21st Century. Since the horrific events that occurred on May 25th Black Lives Matter has become the biggest Movement in U.S History and around the world. New York Times even mentioned that the 2017 Women’s March ended up having a turnout of three million to five million people in one day, in which case although this event was preplanned the BLM movement came with a bigger more organic outcome as the numbers surpassed the women’s march according to the polls. Racism has been a worldwide issue in which it is present among our daily lives whether people are aware of it or not, or perhaps they are but due to their white privilege they chose not to acknowledge it. Throughout the years, especially the last decade, despite the awareness of the black lives matters movement shedding light on how law enforcement continues to be unjust towards individuals of color where their actions often causing many deaths. It's heartbreaking that I as many others can relate to this topic on so many levels, Racism and systemic racism is a known issue that has been around since the beginning of time Having an understanding of the system that is put in place is a foundation for systemic racism and how that continues to affect today’s modern society, especially in North America. Society has a long road ahead of work when it comes to the Black Lives movement and the people that keep saying all lives matter should really stop with that statement when referencing Black lives because it is taking away from what is important. Racial Injustice will be a forever ongoing battle that humanity will keep fighting for no matter where you are from and where you live and it all begins within yourself so you can fix it at home and later educate those around you. The law enforcement of police officers is a system that is meant to oppress those of color, they work in such corrupt environments where they abuse their power beyond boundaries and no matter how many convictions they receive they will keep letting their officers back in place and that is why law enforcement continues to be and will keep being unjust towards Black people and those of color and I will keep talking about injustices that I stand by no matter what in hopes of inspiring the next generation, my generation and educated the previous ones even if it's by simply starting out on writing this article.

For many years the systematic racism that has been impacting Black people has not just randomly risen in the last 4 years, where all the sudden we start to notice individuals of law enforcement abusing their authority. The only difference about racism issues from 1920’s to 2020 and in the wise words of Will Smith is that “Racism is not getting worse, it's getting filmed”. Back to when the slave trades for Black individuals were happening, America itself was getting built to function on the following principles. From Colonization, systematic racism, white supremacist individuals in power, and a full-on patriarchy. It became a cycle that will never be broken as it continues to happen. Due to Socio-economic injustices, Black people have had less opportunities to get the same education, obtain less access to health care as their white counterparts. Mistreatment and racism in health care is a contributing factor as to why there are more deaths of people of color in hospitals across America then whites. As a black person we do not have the same opportunities, or the chance to not have to think twice about certain things that are a constant worry whereas people with white privilege never have to worry about. For example, something as simple as accidently missing a red light, or going a little over the speed limit for a white person they would get away clean while a black person has a bullet pointed in the back of their head by a cop who is the one supposed to protect you. When the incarceration system started it was meant to keep blacks away from white rich societies, especially white women as they “needed” the most protection. From that time to now, when you look at the prison system’s background and its outcome, police officers in the United States end up killing far more people than do police in other advanced industrial democracies. A greater amount of evidence through media shows that people of color, especially African Americans, are at greater risk for experiencing criminal justice contact and police-involved harm than are whites. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics their analysis showed that if current incarceration rates remain unchanged, 32 percent of black males and 17 percent of male Latinos that are born in 2001 can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetime. This compares to only 6 percent of white males who will go to prison. When putting it into perspective the number of African Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but ironically today they compose 40 percent of all prison inmates and 42 percent of those are sentenced to death.

The system has been built for it to function the way it does, blacks keep getting into trouble while whites keep getting richer. Consequently, for young men of color police’s use of force and abuse of authority is among the leading causes of death. Critics have claimed that racism taints the system and that its treatment towards African American and Hispanic males has led to severe consequences. The question remains whether these statistics come from racism in the criminal justice system or from other causes. Social scientists and politicians have argued about this question for decades. Some people might state that the reason all these injustices in 2020 keep happening in north America (mainly in America) is because the system is broken. But the thing is that, the system is not broken it is working the way it was designed for systemic racism to be put in place. In the book The Hate U Give, the main character Starr’s Dad speaks to her about the injustice of the system and it could not be truer to the information within this paragraph. "You got folks like Brenda, who think they need them survive, and then you got the Khalil's, who think they need to sell them to survive. The Brenda's can't get jobs unless they're clean, and they can't pay for rehab unless they got jobs. When the Khalil's get arrested for selling drugs, they either spend most of their life in prison, another billion-dollar industry, or they have a hard time getting a real job and probably start selling drugs again. That's the hate they're giving us, baby, a system designed against us. That's Thug Life.” Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give . The only way for it to be “justice between POC and police is to defund the police completely because or else society will keep seeing things like this reoccurring on a loop. Because from here until there is true freedom it will always be a constant struggle and like Angela Davis stated, “If indeed all lives mattered, we would not need to emphatically proclaim that "Black Lives Matter." “criminal justice system that is punitive if you are black but able to find forgiveness, mercy, and understanding if you are white; the sense that not just one’s labor but one’s life is less valuable than those of other citizens only because of the color of their skin.”

Evidence of racial disparities occur at many levels of law enforcement, from traffic stops to drug- related arrests to use of force. Unfortunately, the roots of those disparities aren't always clear. Experts point to systemic problems as well as the implicit (largely unconscious) biases mentioned in the debate. Those biases aren't unique to police or any other type of law enforcement individual but in matters of criminal justice, implicit bias has life-altering implications. Social media has turned a spotlight on cases of racial discrimination. Making it often where racial profiling comes into play. For the majority racial profiling is much more than a hassle or an annoyance. It has real and direct consequences. Those who experience profiling pay the price emotionally, psychologically, mentally and in some cases even financially and physically. As noted by criminologist Scott Wortley: “To argue that racial profiling is harmless, that it only hurts those who break the law, is to totally ignore the psychological and social damage that can result from always being considered one of the “usual suspects.” The list of black citizens killed by nonblack officers grows, tensions between black communities and police are running high. The number of black individuals' names because their cases made headlines is quite horrifying, and it's sad when you realize what they were doing, and it all came down to getting racial profiling by policer officers. They got racial port Fifield for being black while briding (ChristianCooper), going jogging (#AmaudArbery), being able to relax in the comfort of their own home (BothemSean, AtatianaJefferson and BreonnaTaylor), asking for help after being in a car crash (JonathanFerrell and RenishaMcBride),having a cellphone (Stephon Clark),being able to leave a party to get to safety (Jordan Edwards), playing loud music (Jordan Davis), selling CDs (Alton Sterling) simply sleeping (Aiyana Jones), walking back from the corner store (Mike Brown), playing cops and robbers like every other a kid (Tamir Rice),going to church (Charleston9,walking home with Skittles (Trayvon Martin), holding a hair brush while leaving your own bachelor party (Sean Bell), partying on New Year's (Oscar Grant), getting a normal traffic ticket (Sandra Bland),lawfully carry a weapon (Philando Castile),breaking down on a public road with car problems (Corey Jones),shopping at Walmart (John Crawford), having a disabled vehicle (Terrence Crutcher), reading a book in your own car (Keith Scott), being a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (Clifford Glover), decorating for a party (Claude Reese), ask a cop a question (Randy Evans), cashing a check in peace (YvonneSmallwood), taking out your wallet (Amadou Diallo) going for a run (Walter Scott), breathing (Eric Garner), the simple action of living (#FreddieGray) and finally getting arrested without the fear of being murdered (George Floyd). All of the previous thing a white individual will never have to worry about getting into one of those situations and ending up dead.

The color of someone’s skin shouldn’t be seen as a weapon or a threat, but it is and when it is that individual will never be seen as unarmed. It’s 2020 yet the reality seems like we are back in the 1920’s where you see white men storming the state capitol with riffles protesting about having to wear a mask during a global pandemic nothing happens meanwhile individuals rally for a peaceful protest they get tear gas , rubber bullets thrown at them. Once again and like I previously stated racism did not just start a week ago or one month ago or two. It has been around forever, and even I sometimes am on the receiving end of it. We should all speak up about things that we believe in. In another point I think that our white friends should think twice about certain things that they say like when saying “I don’t want to be racist” just makes what they proceed to say racist. Tell them and just anyone for that matter to not just post about black lives matter on their Instagram and Snapchat stories for the time being because they find it “trendy” or because it will “make you look good” if they want to really help to start by being anti-racist, to speak up when there are injustices going on. Becoming more aware of the white privilege they have because being neutral in situations of injustice you choose the side of the oppressor. Them knowing that they have the privilege as a white person to do all the things previously stated without thinking twice. All while telling people that white privilege is indeed real. Even taking a minute to consider a Black person’s daily experiences. So that for next time they acknowledged that your black/POC friends, neighbors, employees, citizens are facing injustices and if they are too scared to say black lives matter or speak up about it to just remember the color of their favorite rappers' skin, or those Jordan’s they bought, even their favorite basket player. After all, one thing will always be true, and it is that;

You can destroy wood and brick, but you can't destroy a movement.” ― Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

Written by Sofia Caycedo

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