Voices: Protestors and looters are not the same

BlackLivesMatter
Photo credit: Facebook.com/BlackLivesMatter

Statistics don’t give police the right to kill based on color of skin.

By Shreya Kavuru

The death of George Floyd under the knee of a white policeman that rekindled the ongoing Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests was not the only instance of innocent black men and women being killed without reason.

There are many others. Atatiana Jefferson was shot through the window of her home in front of her nephew, as a result of the police thinking she was a potential threat.

Stephon Clark was standing in his grandma’s backyard, when the police mistook his phone for a gun and shot him twenty times.

Breonna Taylor was in her home sleeping, when the police came into her house with a no-knock warrant and shot her, assuming she was one of the suspects they were looking for.

In the case of Breonna Taylor, her killers, who have been identified are still walking around freely.

These tragedies are just a few examples of the corruption within our system that give a lie to some critics’ suggestion that there is “no evidence to support the theory of systemic racism.”

Innocent black people are being killed for being in their home, standing, sleeping, and other daily activities. Then, to make matters worse, their killers are let off the hook. Systemic racism does, in fact, exist and it’s time for change.

Claims that more black people are involved in violent crime, resulting in their deaths at the hands of law enforcement, is a completely wrong perspective to have on the matter.

It is wrong to label all black people as dangerous giving police the right to take the life of an innocent black woman or man solely based on statistics regarding the color of their skin.

There are studies showing how African American drivers are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, even though they find less contraband. Other studies show how African Americans are more likely to be arrested for minor crimes than white people.

It is truly unjust to villainize black people and fail to acknowledge that “white on white” crime also exists, which further pushes the mindset that black people are inherently more involved in crimes.

As a result, this serves as a reason for some about why more black people are killed by the police. This data is just part of the proof that systemic racism exists and is more prevalent than ever.

It’s also important to remember that we cannot group protestors and looters together. Some of the looters may be holding the same frustration and anger within them as the protestors, but the two show their resentment in different ways.

Looters among protestors may be wrongfully taking advantage of the situation, but they should not be clubbed with frustrated peaceful protestors who want to see change.

Unless people know the full story behind protestors and looters, they will not understand the problem of systemic racism that does exist in America. Now more than ever, everyone needs to come together to change the system.

However, it first starts with changing people’s mindsets. Black people cannot be categorized as dangerous. Protestors cannot be categorized as bad.

We must rid ourselves of these notions and move forward in supporting the black community and doing our part in standing against racism, which is still extremely prevalent.

We need to educate ourselves about racism that has been a part of American history, as well as the BLM Movement so that we know what is going on and come forward to support and stand with black communities.

I have done a lot of reflecting on what goes on at my school and how I can help make a change. I have seen non-black people using the N-word, commenting on black students’ hair, and students and faculty continuously mixing black students up, giving the excuse that they look alike when they do not.

My role will be to call people out when I come across any situations like these and engage in civil discussions with people to make them understand the problem with what they did or said.

The sad truth is that racism exists all over the world, and schools are no exception. However, it is our duty to realize our mistakes and learn from them.

Without fully understanding the problem and dumping preconceived racist notions, we will never rid the world of racism.

(Shreya Kavuru of Rumson, New Jersey is a student of St. Paul’s School, New Hampshire.)

READ MORE:

To understand racism, one has to encounter it (September 8, 2020)

Voices: Protests, a recognition of Black community’s oppression (September 3, 2020)

Voices: Black lives must matter before all lives can matter (September 2, 2020)

Voices: Why do Americans tolerate racism? (August 31, 2020)

Voices: BLM movement targets systemic racism in the US (September 1, 2020)

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