Bennett Hart ’16, Managing Editor Every single person on the face of the earth is responsible for the marginal progress of race equality. Efforts have been strong since before slavery was abolished in 1865, but we still have not done enough to make African Americans, and every other race, equal in this country.
Recently, the issue of racism in the United States has returned to the forefront of the news.
Starting with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, multiple cases involving police violence between white policemen and young black men that have resulted in tragic deaths have become a fixture of prime time news. Protests have broken out all over the country in an attempt to make change.
Unfortunately, many people, whether they are involved in the protesting or not, do not understand what these protests are trying to accomplish.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an organization which was founded in July of 2013. The organization was originally started due to the death of Trayvon Martin, the 17yearold black male who was shot in Florida. After Darren Wilson shot Brown, BLM was revived and became very involved in the ongoing protests; but again, what are they really protesting?
The BLM website states that they demand the arrest of the police officer who shot Brown as well as the dismissal of the county prosecutor. Next, they ask for a redress of the problematic pattern of antiblack law enforcement violence. Additionally, they request that the U.S. government stops supplying military weaponry to local law enforcement. Black Lives Matter also wants the government to release the names of officers who have killed black people in the last five years and that they decrease funding for law enforcement at the local, state and federal level.
BLM is trying to reform the government policies that have allowed police officers to kill
African Americans so easily. I have a problem with this approach to stopping this problem. It is
important for policemen to have the necessary weapons in order to match the force of possible dangers so that they can patrol our neighborhoods and keep them safe. I have a lot of respect for the way BLM has taken initiative, but I feel that they are going about stopping the police violence issue in the wrong way. The police violence issues are purely a result of racism, and organizations such as BLM should be protesting against the culture in the United States that leads to widespread systemic racism.
In a situation where a person is acting hostile in the presence of a police officer, he is forced to make a splitsecond decision on what to do. In this instance the police officer is going to act on instinct alone. In most cases a situation like this will run smoothly, but in some, as we have learned in the last year, the policeman or woman will make the wrong choice. The reason wrong decisions have been made by white police officers in history are due to stereotypes about young black men. The white police officers are not necessarily racist individuals, but society's ideas about the typical young black man are a systemic problem. When making a splitsecond decision these ideas that society has projected may shine through, and force an officer into a bad decision regardless of his real opinions.
Although a lot of progress has been made to give black people an equal opportunity in a predominantly white society, the job is not finished. The reason why systemic racism still exists is because of the schism that still