The views and opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of The Rapfest.
Unconditional equality only exists in the minds of the naive patriots who look at our country through rose-colored glasses. For everyone else, we can clearly see the festering wounds hiding behind the fabricated American interpretation of equality. Due to the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, African Americans have to once again been forced to reevaluate how equal we are in this country. Having been oppressed against since the Triangle Trade, centuries of hardships and turmoil has passed since then, yet in 2016 it seems we still have a long way to go. The deaths of Sterling and Castile is yet another grim reminder that racial tensions are still prominent in this country. With the increasing number of filmed shootings, with no accountability, police officers are looking less like law enforcement and more like a lynching mob.
Year after year, it seems as though police officers become more reckless and unreliable. According to “The Counted” studies, a total of 1,146 people were killed by officers on duty. Blacks made up more than 15% of the people killed. Despite White Americans making up a majority of people killed by the police, the US census confirms that African Americans make up only 13% of the United States population while White Americans make up 61%. So the number of White Americans killed by police officers doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation. The reality is that Black males are five times more likely to be killed by police than White males. With that being said there is obviously a huge disconnect between the Black community and the officers policing us. For example, the recent case of Philando Castile happened because of lack of communication. Castile informed the officer that he possessed a licensed firearm and the officer still shot and killed him. How clear and cooperative Castile could have been? Situations like these make police officers look like they’re using us for target practice instead of keeping our communities safe.
To make matters worse, the blind spot in our justice system continues to exposes itself. Law enforcement officials are tearing Black families apart while they get to go home to their own. Many try to argue that blacks need to focus on black on black crime instead of police violence against blacks. There’s a huge difference between the two and this is also where our justice system continues to fail. If a black man were to kill another black man, the murderer will be sent to prison. However, if a police officer, who is meant to protect, were to murder a black citizen they’re sent home on paid leave. Blacks waiting on fair treatment from America’s justice system is like waiting on our forty acres and a mule.
There are men and women who work in law enforcement and take pride in their work. They have genuine concerns about the citizens they protect and serve while holding a position of authority with integrity and humility. The most recent poster child for good law enforcement officer is Tommy Norman. Tommy Norman is a police officer based out of North Little Rock, Arkansas that carries himself with integrity and supports the community he works in. Norman’s efforts gained so much attention that The Game and his son Harlem raised $50k in order to help Norman fulfill his selfless deeds. Unfortunately, there are not enough of these police officers. What’s even more unfathomable is Americans expect African Americans to keep marching and makings signs meanwhile we’re still being oppressed against and killed by law enforcement. However, when Micah Johnson kills 5 cops and injures 11 in Dallas nobody saw this coming. What did we expect? When the police violence started to become more frequent, riots broke out throughout the country. Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles progressively becoming more violent as the police killings sky rocketed. It’s because the African American community doesn’t feel protected from law enforcement. Even before the recent events, African Americans have been marching, preaching, and pleading for peace and equality for over fifty years. The footsteps of our grandfathers and grandmothers are embedded in the pavement of America, each step reminding us of the miles they marched just to see their children become equals. History tells us when a group gets tired of marching and protesting, peace and non-violence is no longer an option for the oppressed. If this senseless discrimination and oppression continues, marching and protesting will be the least of law enforcement’s problems.
Tupac Shakur said it best, “We were asking with the civil rights movement, we were asking with the black panthers so what are we going to do now? Ask?” This was recorded in the early 90’s. This is 2016 and we seemingly have reached our limit. There is only so much oppression a race is going to take until they retaliate. We’re going to continue to protect ourselves until we feel law enforcement is no longer a threat. If these senseless murders continue, the violence won’t stop at Micah Johnson. It’s inevitable that violence will continue between African Americans and police officers will continue until our message is finally heard.
The message is simple:Stop killing us!