You Don’t Have To Choose Between Black Lives And Cop Lives
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Politics and Activism

You Don’t Have To Choose Between Black Lives And Cop Lives

Often times, making decisions becomes awfully polarized.

You Don’t Have To Choose Between Black Lives And Cop Lives

Often times, making decisions becomes awfully polarized. You must choose a side; it’s one or the other. There is no in between. There’s no room for, “Well, I don’t support some aspects of side A, but I don’t entirely disagree with them either.” Such has been the case amongst the recent tragedies concerning Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the 11 police officers shot at in Dallas.

As unfortunate as it is, people have felt the need to choose sides in this debate. It’s either you’re pro “black lives matter” or pro “blue lives matter.” But who says that a side must be chosen? Is it not humanly possible to care about black lives and cop lives? The issue at hand is not hating cops — it’d be incredibly ignorant to even suggest that every single cop is corrupt, just as it is ignorant for racist nefarious cops to assume all people of color are dangerous. What we need to concern ourselves with is police brutality.

Police serve to protect us, but why is it that when cops approach people of color they feel more afraid and anxious than they do safe? As Jesse Williams said in his recent speech at the BET awards, “…we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm, and not kill white people every day.” Why is it so impossible for it to work the same way for black people? A black man reaches for his identification upon request and is shot multiple times to death. But a white man has his hand on a gun and is reasoned with for half an hour to comply with police orders. It is racism and fear that perpetuates police brutality. Of course, not all cops are racist and seldom (if at all) draw their guns out of fear. There are good cops out there who understand when it is appropriate to use excessive force and when it is absolutely unnecessary, as it was in the cases of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. These are the cops that need to come forward and acknowledge that a problem exists. These are the cops that cannot stay silent when acts of racism and fear cause innocent lives to be taken.

That brings me to the next issue at hand: police accountability. When incidents similar to the two recent tragedies occur, an excuse always arises in order to defend the guilty cop and criminalize the innocent victim.

“The person was resisting arrest.”

“The cop’s life was in danger.”

“You can’t see what actually happened with that ‘crappy’ cellphone video.”

“The person has a history of crime.”

Being detained for carrying a small amount of marijuana, for petty theft or for a traffic stop is hardly a “history of crime,” but such events are used to legitimize police brutality and to shed negative light on victims of it. Even if a person has a history of crime, does that justify taking their life? If that’s the case, then should all criminals be removed from prison, lined up, and killed by a firing squad? Of course not. Such thinking is distorted and cruel, taking us back to the Hammurabi days of “an eye for an eye.” When Alton Sterling was killed, the media turned to his “history of crime,” but when Brock Turner raped an unconscious woman, the media turned to his swim times. So, Alton Turner and other victims like him weren’t allowed to make mistakes in their younger years, but Brock Turner was allowed to rape a woman and get away practically unscathed because he can swim, and because he is white.

The point I’m trying to make is that there is a problem. Ignorant public figures like Tomi Lahren will try to convince us otherwise, claiming that racism amongst cops is a myth. Not all cops are racist, but some are. Does this mean that we should hate and fear cops? That cop lives don’t matter? Absolutely not. It means that there is a problem with some cops that needs to be addressed, and that the cops who conduct their jobs correctly must take a stand for what is right. Remaining silent is just as dangerous being a corrupt cop and supporting corrupt cops. In short, speak up. Let it be known that pro-black lives does not mean anti-cops and pro-cops does not mean anti-black lives. Let us support the good, honest and innocent beings out there and ensure that those perpetuating hate, racism, and fear come out of their ignorance and into the light.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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