#HandsUpDontShoot. #iCantBreathe. #BlackLivesMatter. Protests in Ferguson. Protests in New York. Protests in Los Angeles. Protests in Chicago. Protests around the world. Massive Protests. Small Protests. The media has reported on some and made no mention of others. Journalism should be used as a medium to inform the general public by providing unbiased factual data. What I have noticed when looking at news reports of the protests is that they focus more on sensationalizing the abnormal activities of some protesters rather than highlighting the purpose of the protests. I would like to provide some clarity on the purpose of the protests and dispel some of the myths.
What are we marching against?
The Media would have you believe these marches are against the police. This viewpoint has been incited with comments made by the former mayor of NYC, Rudy Guiliani. While on Meet the Press, Guiliani made the following statement, ‘White police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other.’ These sentiments were further exasperated by police officers in NYC wearing #iCanBreathe t-shirts and pro-police rallies popping up all over the country. The passion we see spilling forward from so many in the form of protests are not out of hate for police. We are not marching against police, we are marching against institutionalized racism. When anyone commits an act of murder it should be thoroughly investigated, and the killer should be prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law. There is a spectrum of charges one can receive for killing another person: premeditated murder, manslaughter, reckless homicide, attempted murder, and the list goes on. It is very disheartening when a group that is selected to serve and protect the people in a community kill disproportionately more people in a particular race than others. It is even more disheartening when this group is allowed to kill without being held responsible criminally. You become suspicious of a system that charges and punishes one race more severely than others. IE: drug offenses. We don’t think all police or white people are bad, we merely want to see justice served when anyone kills an unarmed man or woman, whether they have a badge or not. We want the law to be the same for everyone.
What is the purpose of the marching?
These marches are to bring awareness to police brutality, and the system of racism that so many people of color face on a daily basis in every aspect of life. The police department is a necessary entity in any community, but trust needs to be restored among officers and residents. It is prevalent in our education system where students of inner cities don’t have access to the same resources as children in wealthier neighborhoods. Racism is prevalent in business as we see in the recent hack of emails from Sony about what movies President Obama might like or why Denzel Washington shouldn’t be cast as lead in a movie. As well as the sports world, how can we forget the Donald Sterling debacle, and most recently Bruce Levenson. It is prevalent in television and music, where executives would have you believe that the only thing that sells is black people behaving like buffoons and animals, or referring to our men and women as thugs and hoes.
When will the marching stop?
When we see change. Change in the form of legislation. Change in the form of accountability. Change in the form of education and accessibility of resources for all. Real, sustainable, attainable, tangible change. In the police department, there should be open dialogue where residents and officers are able to state their grievances and then new policies implemented to meet the needs of each party. There should be required sensitivity training for all officers, as well as a retraining of officers to shoot to wound not to kill suspects. Officers must be held accountable for murder just like any other citizen. Those in Hip Hop, Television, and Hollywood must stop accepting the status quo and demand that people of color be showcased in a positive light. #ChangeMustCome #itMustBeNow until then #NoJusticeNoPeace.
Written By:Whitney Hampton