Under Pressure: Racial Bias in America

Racism exists. It lives and breathes in the bodies of persons offering me forced smiles and synthetic checkout line conversation. It reveals itself in comment sections on news threads and social media sites. It is surviving through inherited hate, infiltrated political systems, and manufactured generalizations of what might be a person of color.

I am not violent.

I do not abuse drugs.

I do not have a gun. 

But,

I am an African-American woman and

I am angry

And you should be too.

My anger does not solely begin or end with the deaths of unarmed men, women, and children. It begins with the criminalization, demonization, and dehumanization of African-American men and the legal operation of such beliefs in our “justice” system. My anger begins with the systemic racism that has birthed a loophole for officers and politicians alike to abuse their power all in the name of assumed “threat” and to be exonerated of their crimes. My anger remains because it is 2016 and murder carried out by law enforcement is legal, as long as the officer says their life was threatened or endangered. Regardless of if it was or not.

My anger is ruminant in the bellies of racial profiling during traffic stops and shopping trips. It lies in the fact that African American men are more likely to be victims of wrongful convictions, wait longer to be exonerated, and are given much harsher sentences for non-violent crimes at a higher rate than other races. In addition to that, during altercations with police African Americans are shot almost three times more often than non-persons of color and are significantly disposed to becoming victims of officer misconduct or physical abuse but that only includes the abuse that gets reported. My anger resonates in the under policing of predominately black/brown/poor neighborhoods despite the higher protective police presence in white/wealthier neighborhoods. Not to mention the extended response time it takes for police and emergency personnel to arrive on scene in predominately black neighborhoods and in the case of medical emergency or imminent danger this can be severe and sometimes fatal. So how can we, as people of color, trust a system that fails us regularly? Police mistrust is not the fault of people who no longer trusts law enforcement but the system that allows and fosters this inimical policing structure.

We are antagonized and murdered, our names become hashtags, then dehumanized in the media to justify our deaths, and despite fact, witnesses, and evidence our killers still walk freely with paid leave so that they may continue to take care of their families. But who is ensuring the total well-being of the Scott, Sterling, or Garner family or the many, many other families that have lost parents, siblings, and children to this aggressive structure? They will NEVER be given the opportunity to see their loved one again. They are the ones truly left with that burden. So where is their justice? Justice that is not merely settling out of court for sums of money while the men or women who murdered their loved one walks freely. No, because the threat of murder at the hands of police remains and none of the veiled solutions has fixed the real root of the issue. Racial biases are still surviving in both the law enforcement and the judicial systems. Police are still abusing their badges and are still murdering innocents. So, this is why I and many other people are angry. This is why we protest because we are exhausted, broken, and enraged that this system has failed us more often than not and we demand change.

But when will it finally happen? We do not have the time to wait 300* years for change to finally occur. It has long been time to break this dangerous cycle that binds so many.

As always,

Peace, love, and light <3.

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