American racism never died
2020 has shown that racism is still alive in the United States.
May 29, 2020
Some might say that racism is not as prominent now as it was 50 years ago. But in the past few weeks, there have been plenty of examples of how racism is still running rampant within America.
On Feb. 23, Ahmaud Arbery was killed in broad daylight by two white men while he was jogging. The two murderers, Gregory McMichaels and Travis McMichaels, were not arrested until May 7, after a social media uproar was made after the footage of his death was released to the public. I fear that without this video, these men would have walked away uncharged. There was no correct justification for Arbery’s death. There had reportedly been break-ins in the area, and the two men felt that Arbery’s jogging was suspicious. This lead them to follow, and eventually lynch, Arbery. This “chain of break-ins” turned out to be one incident seven weeks before the day Arbery died.
A man lost his life because of a hunch that two men had that he was a criminal. Being suspicious of someone who might have committed a crime before does not mean that you are open to be kill that person. I do not think these men would have reacted the way they did if Arbery was a white man. A mother and father lost their child before seeing his 26th birthday because of two racist men with a disgusting sense of “justice”, which could not be further from actual justice.
Another black man, George Floyd, unjustly lost his life on May 25. In a video that was released that day, it could be seen that a police officer pressed his knee onto Floyd’s neck, with Floyd pleading with the officer that he could not breathe. The officer kept his knee on Floyd for several minutes, and Floyd died because of the incident later that day. The officers claimed that Floyd had been resisting arrest, which is why they would not alleviate the compromising position. This is not the first time police brutality has been shown to America, and unfortunately I do not believe that it will be the last time.
The officers that were involved in the incident were terminated, but that is not enough for the crimes they committed. They unjustly took a man’s life, which to any other citizen would result in arrest and prison time for murder. Just because they are police officers does not mean they should receive anything but the same charges. Whether it is George Floyd, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, or any other victim to these crimes, it is clear that the police system has a racial bias. Without massive police reform, black men and women will continue to lose their lives to systematic racism.
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Following the unjust murder of George Floyd, there were protests in Minneapolis calling for justice. Most in the crowds were protesting peacefully, while there are reports that some did get rocks and throw them at police cruisers. This crowd was met with tear gas. Now I can not sit here and justify the throwing of rocks, but if you take a look at protests that happened weeks ago, you will see a much different scene. In protests of the stay at home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, white Americans, many armed with guns and rifles, got right in the faces of police officers. These men and women were not met with tear gas, or really any resistance at all. They spit at these officers, threatened them, and yet were not punished at all. But when a crowd of mostly unarmed minorities gathers, and a few people get out of hand due to the rage from a man losing his life, the officers have no problem releasing the tear gas and riot shields.
Why was there not equal treatment for both of these protests? Why was the protest that had no guns protesting injustice treated like a riot, while armed men yelling at police about government-ordered stay-at-home measures were treated like peaceful demonstrators? There is something wrong with these images, and I think it is pretty apparent why they were treated how they were.
Being black in America should not be a death sentence. Being black in America should not be treated as a crime, or a sign of aggression. Being black in America should have the same effect as being white in America, and yet it never has been. The color of your skin should not determine how you are treated by police, and it should not be a measuring stick of whether you’re suspected for a crime. Too many black lives have been lost to the systemic racism and oppression that is present in America. Until we stop losing innocent lives to this twisted principle, you can not call America “great”.
Jack Kirk is a senior at Robinson and the Sports Editor for the Knight Writers and RHSToday. He is a sports junkie, music lover and chicken tender expert....