Racism in America
Ahmaud’s killers, Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested on May 7, 2020, and shortly thereafter the man who video-taped it, William “Roddie” Bryan was taken into custody; Yet Breonna Taylor’s family has not been served justice for her murder. Her family has filed a lawsuit against police as neither her nor her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, had a history of drug arrests. No drugs were found in their home. Charges against Kenneth Walker, who shot at police officers in self-defense, have been dropped and a federal probe into the shooting was recently announced by the FBI. However, a probe is not enough and justice must be served for Breonna and her family. George Floyd’s killer, officer Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers involved with the murder have also been charged as a result of ongoing pressure from the public in the form of mostly peaceful protests. This senseless violence has galvanized the nation as well as forced racial issues to emerge.
While the resilience varies from state to state, so does the way in which police have handled it. In Seattle, Washington, a video of the aftermath of a Washington Police Officer pepper-spraying a little girl has gone viral (https://tinyurl.com/y8rr3qbq). In New York, a video of Officer Vincent D’Andria assaulting a young woman has also received attention (https://tinyurl.com/y867tb8r). Although there have been videos of NYPD officers driving into peaceful crowds (https://tinyurl.com/ycj5shql) and LAPD officers beating protestors with batons (https://tinyurl.com/y7v7h27p), in places such as Atlanta, Chief of Police Erika Shields, stood among protestors and promised to hear them and respect them. This has also sparked a conversation about what it means to be a “good” police officer and how the police should be handling each riot.
Even though many of the riots gained steam as a result of their violence, protests have ultimately been peaceful. Though the media has slowed down its coverage of the protests, which have taken place almost every day since George Floyd’s death, they are still going strong. These peaceful protests increase conversation about race in America and have stirred the question: What does it mean to be anti-racist? Systemic racism comes in all shapes and sizes, not just police brutality. There are many small things that you can do to make a difference and actively help the black community, one of them being to examine your implicit biases. Implicit biases are attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions unintentionally. Many of these biases often correlate with race and to combat them we must actively seek to do so. Whether it be through a bias cleanse, listening to a racial podcast, or talking to a friend/family member, we can always work to improve our understanding of what it means to live in a society with institutionalized racism. Only then will we be able to establish reform.