The headlines are always the same. Just variations of different cases, different people, different murders. Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot dead for holding a toy gun. Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old father of two shot dead for using his cell phone. Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old female shot dead in front of her 8-year-old nephew. George Floyd, a 46-year-old man suffocated to death for buying groceries. It angers me that we live in a country in which a person’s skin color can carry a death sentence. In which being black means being up to six times more likely to be killed by the police. Isn’t America supposed to be the land of equality and opportunity?
In fact, these murders are nothing short of modern-day lynchings. In the 18 and 1900s, lynchers would hide behind the color of their skin. Now, they hide behind a blue uniform and a badge. Few are put on trial and even fewer are charged for their crimes. How can we expect a change in police shootings if they are not held responsible for their actions? What message does it send to other policemen if they know law enforcement can get away with murder? Too many of our black brothers and sisters have died for us to continue to stay quiet. We cannot let the Black Lives Matter movement be a trend that dies down. Because even though the trending hashtags on Twitter and Instagram may fade with time, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many more will never truly disappear. They have left an unforgettable hole in our society that serves as a constant reminder of the blatant oppression and racism in the United States. And recently, I have noticed a lot of performative activism on social media: people who post about BLM frankly because it’s a trend. But the truth is, performative activism does not have any substantial impact on the actual black lives matter movement. Instead of posting about BLM solely to not attract criticism for being racist, take some time to read up about the issue. Learn and educate yourself about the injustices taking place in our country.
We as a community have to stop acting like racism does not exist in our town or that it ends with justice for George Floyd. Racism does not exist in small pockets of our country. Instead, it’s deeply buried in this nation’s history, institutions, and mindsets of its citizens. Prejudice against people of color and against immigrants has been normalized to the point that it is treated as a “joke” or a simple comment. With the growth of COVID in the United States, Asians have also been targeted for their ethnicity. People are using their fears and anxiety over the coronavirus in order to justify their xenophobic beliefs. Whether it’s accusing a Chinese person of eating a bat or subconsciously moving away when a black man walks past, racism exists everywhere around us. Each of us has a personal responsibility to hold people accountable for their actions and uphold the justice and equality that we want this nation to be built on.
Post written by guest writer Vaishali Bansal