Alton Sterling. A 37 year-old black man who was selling CDs outside a supermarket in Baton Rouge. That was the case, until 2 police officers tackled and fatally shot him. July 5th 2016.
Freddie Gray. 25 years old at the time of the police attack, Gray died due to a spinal injury sustained a week after being arrested. April 19, 2015.
Ezell Ford. He was unarmed when he was fatally shot by a white police officer. He was only 25. August 11, 2014.
+many more in between.
To my Cupertino readers, this topic may not move you or shock you because we live in a bubble where none of this affects us unless we allow it to. Because of that, we are extremely privileged.
Prejudice and racism is prominent among many Asian households. I grew up hearing my family talk about how “black people are thugs” or “those black people always [insert overgeneralized and stereotypical action]”. As a result, I find myself being a racist. Because of my lack of interaction with the world outside of this Cupertino bubble, the image of a black person to me was a “thug” and “dangerous”. After reading about the deaths of innocent black people by WHITE police officers, my views completely changed.
The world is so different than what I once perceived. While I could go about my life with no worries, a young black man on the other side of the country has to be extra cautious when he steps outside. This is what Jesse Williams spoke at the BET Awards to abolish. Yet, 24,846 people signed a petition to fire Jesse Williams from Grey’s Anatomy and boycott ABC because:
“Jesse Williams spewed a racist, hate speech against law enforcement and white people at the BET awards. If this was a white person making the same speech…”
Why it was not a racist hate speech: He spoke to empower the black community. Their voices were continuously being shot down, which you can’t deny because just 2 days ago on July 6th there was yet another shooting. Black people constantly are discriminated against, stereotyped, and harassed.
I hear people say, “#blacklivesmatter creates a line between black and white people”. But the thing is, this country had drawn that line already when they drew the line between where people of color could use the restroom. Sure, in 1964 the line was erased, but in the minds of these police officers, it wasn’t.
Why “If this was a white person making the same speech” is not a valid point:
BECAUSE THAT WHITE PERSON FACES NO DISCRIMINATION OR OPPRESSION TO BEGIN WITH. THEREFORE, THERE IS NO NEED FOR THEM TO MAKE THE SPEECH.
I can’t emphasize this enough. A victim cannot be a victim when they committed the crime.
“A system cannot fail those it was never designed to protect.” -WEB Du Bois