Finally Weighing In: “Black Lives Matter”

It is not often that I write, discuss, or share my personal beliefs on politics or current events, but in the recent weeks I have been pondering about the controversial civil rights issues that have been present within the media and political debate within the past few months. I abstain from many politically charged debates mainly, which lead many to believe that I have few opinions. This is far from the truth noting that I am a political science major, and have a strong stance on most issues, but often view situations quite differently due to my extensive political background. I refrain from debate due to my twisted unusual views and the fact that I hate debating people who are emotionally attached to a subject that they have little to no accurate knowledge about. With that said, I warn those who decide to continue to read that this is purely my opinion and up for debate, and I will not give you a simple response.

Within the media, I have seen to spectrums of the argument. One stating that the incidents are not civil rights issues, but actions of the officer were caused by these individuals violating the law. On the opposite end, people state that police brutality is a persistent problem that plagues black communities. These two sides are blaming one another for what occurred and for the outcome and results of these incidents. As an educated woman of color, I can appreciate both of the arguments and relate to both sides, but there are some many underlying issues that are never addressed by both sides.

Yes, I agree if these individuals did not commit a crime or show aggression towards officers there could have been a different outcome. (the key word is could because no one truly knows) There was so much controversy when Pharrell Williams stated that Michael Brown committed a crime and was pursued by the cops for his actions. Williams was correct, he was being pursued because there was a crime committed. His death was a result of his mistake. No matter how smart he was or the bright future that he may have had, the facts are he committed a crime, and the officer was in the right to pursue him. No one can dispute this, regardless if there was the end result of the situation. I understand that this outcome probably would have ended differently if this was a white male versus a black male, but the reality is that we will never know because that is not what happened. To put it quite frankly there would have been little to know media coverage of the incident if it was a white male and there would be less controversy and interest in the case. Would society be blaming police brutality if it was a black cop and a white suspect? Would the black cop be charged with a crime? We simply cannot say with certainty the outcome if the roles were reversed. One fact is for sure; there would not be riots and protests on the scale of this event if circumstances were a bit or radically different.

With the being said, I also agree that there is a sense of racial profiling within the American society that has existed for years, and are targeted towards black individuals being criminals or law breakers. I agree that on a daily basis, black individuals get stopped and pulled over by the police at a higher rate than white individuals. We are accused of crimes that we did not commit and people look at us more suspiciously. Recently, I was shopping at a store and went to leave at the same time as two white individuals. The security alarm went off, yet I was the only one stopped. I was asked to verify my purchases, and ask to search my personal belongings. I willing obeyed knowing that I did not take any un-purchased items. I was released shortly after with an apology. The worse part of the situation was that one of those other individuals could have easily taken an item, but I was automatically the target. Someone dressed properly and with proper grammar is still defined by the color of their skin. The high rate of racial profiling within America continues, and it seems impossible for African Americans to break these stereotypes that many people place on them.

Putting both arguments aside the problems lies within the great divide that still exists within society. The struggle and hardships that are faced by African Americans is the true problem in society, and is greater than just police brutality and the death of one or two individuals. This is not to say that White Americans have not embraced some the black culture such as music, dance, style, and the outrageous slang but simply realizing that there are still misconceptions and stereotypes still placed on African Americans. Many people who are posting on social media about police brutality and the terrible nature of the police department need to realize that the protests and riots are not due to a single incident, but rather linked to deeper underlying issues and frustrations rooted within many communities of color. We need to unite not as African Americans and people of color, but as a human race to stop stereotyping and to become as one. I am not saying to hold hands and sing Cumbyeya, but to simply recognize that there is a problem in our society that stems from our own misconception and beliefs that is deeply rooted within society and to move on to become a stronger society. At the end of the day I just want everyone to remember not every black person is a criminal or thug and not every cop is militant jerk ready to kill. We are all human beings that make mistakes that should take responsibility for our actions.

To simply put my opinion for all those who have trouble following my endless rant. Michael Brown was in the wrong, and that cop had every right to pursue him, but did he have the right to shot him…. I simply do not have a definitive answer, but at some point will he realize that regardless if it was right or wrong he took a life of a young boy who made a mistake. No human is perfect. We cannot blame him entirely for firing upon him, and it was up to our judicial system to discover an appropriate decision for the case regardless if we agree with the decision or not.

Simply keep in mind regardless of your race, ethnicity, or family background next time you pass someone rethink that stereotype you just placed upon them because there is a ninety-five percent chance that you have already created one for them. Stop judging a book by the color of the cover and move pass the preconceived notions that you may already have. Lastly, stop judging me as you read this last sentence. Peace and love to you all!

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