Growing up we were taught that America was the greatest country in the world. I believed it for a short period of time until I started to see things for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to be an American but seriously, will we ever make actual progression?
When I look at the neighborhood that I grew up in in Denver, CO I feel proud. My family and I lived in what was considered the projects and it was very diverse. I never even knew that people did not get along or feared someone else simply because of the color of skin they were born with. We were all just people.
My brothers and I were babysat by a teenage black male named CaRon. We were never taught to fear anyone and I am thankful for that. Looking back I feel lucky. Fortunate enough to have experienced many different cultures as a child and raised in a family that believed in treating people based on your experience with the individual without preconceived ideas of who they were based on physical attributes. I was oblivious that racism still existed, I thought it was all just a series of historic events that were so gruesome and horrifying that we never really dug into the details. I thought that America learned from their mistakes.
My system was shocked when we moved to rural Kentucky and I stumbled into racism face first. Every single kid in the school we went to was white. The first thing I remember someone telling me was that my mom could not be my real mom because we are not the same. My mom is Mexican.
Things only got worse as I grew older and went to the high school that had maybe a 4% population of students that were not white. I hated that place and those people made me angry. It was not everyone but it was a large amount. I attributed their ways to ignorance and found myself in conflict many times with people who were racist.
I graduated high school in 2003. It is practically 2015 and I find myself angry with the government. There has been a change in the makeup of people that stand up for civil rights and that makes me happy. There has not been a change in law that will protect ALL people and ensure equality. If you don’t believe there is an imbalance than you can do a simple Google search and discover that Black and Hispanic men receive harsher sentences than white men for the same. Black men are profiled time and time again and often harassed when they are simply minding their own business.
It pains my soul when I see the negative and racist comments surrounding the events in Ferguson and New York. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the matter however resorting to hate and racism is unacceptable. Lives were lost and I don’t care what anyone says, no one deserves to die that way.
If you have seen the video of Eric Garner getting taken down by an illegal choke hold performed by a law enforcement officer you will see and hear his final words. Listening to someone gasping and saying that they can’t breathe and then watch as the police officers try to clear the scene once they realize that he died brings pain to my soul. I’m not going to post the video but you can find it very easily online. Even with video evidence, there was no indictment. In my mind, all this does is enforce the idea that police officers are above the law and can act however they choose without consequence. This is not a black/white issue, this is an issue with justice. This is an AMERICAN problem. Police brutality happens to all races, this involves everyone.
I encourage you to watch this video from the Daily Show that was aired a little more than two months ago. It is mostly talking about the events in Ferguson but if you skip ahead to about 8:55 he says some pretty true statements that resonated with me.
If you don’t want to/aren’t able to watch the video than just see the picture below. If you are one of those people that are ‘tired’ of hearing about all of this than just think about that statement once in awhile.
We need to unite and fight for what is right and what is just.