I’m going to tell you a story. And it’s not going to be pretty. It’s going to be real instead.
We’re going to deconstruct every myth around black lives matter and replace them with the hard truth.
Let’s start from the beginning.
The police system in America was originally a slave patrol designed to capture runaway enslaved people. The institution itself is corrupt and used to target black people.
And it still does. A video surfaced of a white cop pulling over a woman. She was afraid, and he said, “Don’t worry, ma’am. We only kill black people,” which shows the bigger issue. Racism is hugely prevalent in America. It’s different from other countries because there’s a bloody history behind it that oppressed all non-white races. Black people were the most affected through the transatlantic slave trade, East Asians were recruited for cheap labor in the salmon and lumber industries, treated with poor wages and restrictive laws, Latinx immigrants could face deportation, South Asian immigrants had bans and taxes placed on them in the beginning.
The department apologized for the policeman’s action, but he got let off with a warning. A warning. We hold our police to our highest esteem, we give them our trust and taxpayers’ money. Not all police are bad. I don’t hate the police. But this is an institution that has stemmed from racism, and anything rotten from the start spreads. There are so many good, kind, and loyal police in our society. But if racist police even exist in our society, they affect us all.
Let’s talk about #alllivesmatter.
Some may say the protests should be centered on only police brutality towards all races. First off, certain demographics are at more risks than others when it comes to police brutality. Protesting against only police brutality won’t address the real problem: the racism behind it. Tackling the issue people are afraid to talk about is what will spur on change. Take out the source of the poison, not the trace of venom it leaves behind.
Sure, all lives matter, but #alllivesmatter takes attention off of the injustices suffered by our black brothers and sisters and everyone in between. Discounting the police brutality that has surfaced in America only adds to the issue.
Many of my friends have brought up the fact that George Floyd had many criminal charges. Okay. George Floyd was a criminal, yes. But what happened to him was a racist issue. Breanna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. And thousands more. They didn’t have criminal records. And no white person has been pinned down like Floyd. Take any demographic and you’ll find that the biggest victim of police brutality is black people, not brown people, not Asians.
You can’t claim that this is a humanitarian issue when it is so very clear that this is a racist issue. This is definitely a racial issue. Search up the “doll test.” Search up socioeconomic statistics regarding black people.
Let’s discuss the violence being associated with protestors. The violence that’s happening shouldn’t be associated with the protestors. There is an organized group of looters taking advantage of the situation. That’s what the media isn’t showing. The media portrays violent protestors because it’s what people will want to watch and read. Our society is so afraid of change that it sometimes fabricates stories to quell our fear. Seeing change as a symbol of “bad” and “wrong” eases weary hearts. We’re not used to change. We’re not used to calling out our friends and family on their own racism, but that’s what we MUST do. Change is coming, the tidal wave of change is happening, and it is your choice whether you want to be a part of it or swept away.
Back to violence being associated with protestors. The looters should not be associated with the protestors. I should know—one of the protests was in my neighborhood, and it was peaceful, filled with signs and people of all races, and people speaking. It was beautiful. The media—the American media especially—will never show that. Innocent people have suffered because of criminals that have taken advantage of blm.
So, peaceful protestors should not be to blame on the issue of organized looters. Some may argue that the protests are allowing looting to take place. They may argue that America is rife with violence now. I hear you. I see you.
Now, let me say something as a non-black POC. The innocent people who’ve suffered are facing what black people in America face EVERY day. Imagine fear invading your heart when being pulled over by a police officer. Imagine feeling afraid to jog in your neighborhood. Imagine the stares you get when you walk in non-black-dominated places. Imagine how different, targeted, and scared you feel. I’ve talked to my black friends about this fear. I can never imagine it, but as a brown person, I am their forever ally. I will speak up against any injustice I see, and you should too. We have undeniable, unimaginable privilege, and we must use it.
To ensure our children, and their children, and their children don’t grow up in a world where detrimental stereotypes and racism influence their quality of life.
We must also argue on the issue of perspective. Growing up and living in America is a significant perspective some may not have. It’s easy to say that all lives matter and any race can be treated the same way when you don’t grow up in a multiracial melting pot where certain races are given immeasurable power that affects even the smallest bits of daily life (ex. My dad told me not to become a lawyer because it’s white-male dominated, ex. my mother is always apologizing to her white coworkers for their mistakes because that’s what she feels pressured to do).
Most foreign countries, compared to America, don’t have a similar level of racial diversity, so the race-related issues there are severely different (ex. in India, brown people are the majority population, and white people are mostly treated as foreigners/exotic).
This isn’t an easy topic to talk about, and sharing viewpoints is what needs to happen. People are afraid to share their voices. I personally feel guilty because I’m a POC but not black, so I feel like my opinion may be seen as pretentious as I don’t deal with the same issues in America. Either way, talking is one of the best ways to make issues heard.
Make yourself heard.
Be an ally.