For the past couple of years in America, the media has extensively covered a series of unorthodox arrests, shootings and deaths of African Americans by police officers. In almost every situation whether male or female, victims were painted as thugs, resisting arrest, and being non-compliant with the law. Subsequently, the victims were scrambled to pieces as the media deciphered every waking moment of their lives. Focusing on negative circumstances, mass media ultimately allowed each victim to be painted as perpetrators. While the African American community was not oblivious to the harsh treatment of their race by law enforcement, with every waking moment it was becoming a blatant slap in the face. It was hard to watch a child get murdered for looking suspicious as he was simply walking down the street with a bag of skittles, iced tea, and a hoodie. Or to stay silent when a woman gets pulled over for a traffic stop, but results with her being charged and arrested for assaulting a police officer when video shows otherwise. It's even more heartbreaking to see an innocent child playing in the park with a toy gun and get killed by officers' due to failed communications with dispatchers and an officer who chooses to shoot first instead of using proper protocol. And it's still mind boggling when officers shoot to kill a man in a car with a child in the rear seat as he is calmly communicating to the responding officer. These horrific events are only a few of the countless acts that have occurred in the land of the free, in the United States of America.
In more recent events, there was a white woman who was handcuffed and detained because she would not draw blood from an unconscious patient. Since when is it OK to be arrested for doing your job? During the same week in a separate incident in Georgia state there was a cop who tried to deescalate a situation by stating to a white woman that she did not have to be afraid because they only "shoot black people". The outrage from both events were rightfully so. Within a couple of days, the officers in each case were fired. Two women, emotionally hurt, are free to live their lives knowing that some type of justice has been served. This is how it should be, but the truth is what if these women were black? Would justice be served? Would the officers still have a job? Or better yet, would the women still be alive to tell their stories. In similar cases, the results were different and 9 times out of 10 were deadly. So, what is America really teaching its citizens? If anyone is paying attention there were major lessons that came from it but I'll only focus on the two obvious. The first is that if a woman who is not of color speaks up to an officer who is acting irrational then it is OK, but if a black woman does the same she is not complying, she is resisting arrest, being disrespectful and confrontational i.e. the Sandra Bland case. During the time that Sandra Bland was murdered there were numerous of comments that Ms. Bland should not have "resisted arrest". As a matter of fact, in every case that seemed to be the conclusion. How the black victims should have been quiet and not quick to talk back followed, by vulgar racial slurs. Those statements came from many non-African Americans and by the dozen. The second lesson was that it is definitely not OK to say that "you only kill black people" and will get punished for it, but the moment you actually kill an African American person it's OK and there will be no legal consequences whatsoever, says every case from Trayvon Martin, to Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice and Philando Castile. All of these individuals were well within their rights but did not have a fighting chance because of the color of their skin.
The color of a person's' skin can have them judged, ridiculed, and killed. History has taught society that it is OK to look down on people of color. It has taught them to place unwarranted labels on them and continually worked this concept to millions through mass media. How many times have you seen the crimes in poor neighborhoods overpower those taking place in the suburbs? For example, there could be a natural disaster and the media will show a group of black people looting from a local shop, but fail to supply the same images of their white counterparts doing the same. There needs to be a balance because violent crimes don't just happen in the city. They happen everywhere and while it is true that the city may hold more crime you better believe that there are people living in those communities trying to spread peace, truth, and a better life but they are barely recognized. Then you have the images of broken homes in the black communities, but contrary to popular belief there are plenty of stable homes in the black community just as much as there are unstable ones in the white community. The fact of the matter is we all have issues but the bias displays has a serious effect on how black people are perceived. After all the historical fights for freedom, liberation, equality and to just be, still the African American community silently struggles to overcome those same fights leaving many to wonder what will it take for society to wake up and change. For some this task is never-ending, but personally I believe that as we, black, latino, white etc. teach our sons and daughters how to love instead of hate, how to communicate instead of blame, how to seek understanding instead of judging that eventually in the long run we will see the full potential of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream and a society filled with compassion for one another ultimately forcing society into an inevitable state of change.