Justice and Silence: Things That Cannot Co-Exist
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Politics and Activism

Justice and Silence: Things That Cannot Co-Exist

Besides, you're fine with getting riled up about the shooting of a gorilla.

Justice and Silence: Things That Cannot Co-Exist
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In light of the recent shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, I cannot remain silent anymore. I keep encountering people who are uncomfortable with the fact that some—not all—police officers have exhibited a clear bias in the line of duty. And it has cost too many lives. Someone who respects law enforcement even the least bit should feel inclined to honor only those who have demonstrated that they are fair; that they are just; that they truly live and breathe the sworn oath they have taken to protect us—all of us.

Philando Castile was pulled over for a broken taillight. He acted in accordance with protocol when he told the officer that he was a licensed, registered carrier and that his weapon was on him. When this happened, it was then the officer’s job to successfully disarm Castile—which the officer did not do. Instead, when Castile told the officer he was reaching for his wallet (after being asked for ID), he was shot multiple times with his girlfriend and four year-old daughter in the car.

Then, as the video shows, Castile grew weaker and the officer continued to point the gun into the car, without calling an ambulance or helping in any way. The tone of the officer’s voice suggests that he was either fearful or uncomfortable as Diamond, Castile’s girlfriend, recorded the entire ordeal and dictated details of what happened.

Alton Sterling was shot multiple times while selling CDs outside a convenience store. Again, there is video evidence of what happened. He was tackled by two white officers, and even when he was already on the ground—already having been shot and barely moving— there was still a gun pointed at his head.

If you are uncomfortable with the notion that some sworn officers are less than honorable, ask yourself why. Why are you so uncomfortable? If you are someone who has the ability to sit back and ignore it without being a victim of it, you have power, and you will probably be listened to by society rather than silenced. Instead of using this privilege to hide from these conversations, why don’t you try using it for the betterment of society?

Besides, most people I know who have ignored recent events were fine with getting riled up about the shooting of a gorilla a few weeks ago, but when there are actual human lives on the line, these people chose to say nothing at all. No words of consolation, even. If you cannot see your privilege or deny it exists, it is because you are protected by it. You have not had to pray that an officer might spare your life during a traffic violation. You have never been called a terrorist, because to white America, the only real terrorism is brown terrorism. I doubt you have ever been referred to as a "thug." You have not felt the pain of being alienated for the color of your skin, because your skin has protected you from the day you were born.

If you are offended by this, you are part of the problem. You need to understand that this is not an attack on all police officers, nor is it an attack on all white people. This is about the bad apples; this is about police officers who have repeatedly proven that they do not deserve to carry a badge; this is about those officers who do not have the moral compass nor the proper judgment and training needed to serve.

And, as Castile's shooter has proven, white officers are not the only officers who have shown bias. There are problems within the justice system, one of which is proper training. And then there is another problem; that problem is called institutionalized racism. This problem is not personal, it is systemic. This problem has left black and brown bodies slaughtered with no explanation.This problem has allowed the for the profiling of young people. This problem has divided us because some of us see the problem and others either don’t see it or refuse to see it.

Don’t tell me race isn't relevant when white people who have literally gone as far as pointing guns at officers (which neither of these victims did) somehow didn't wind up dead. Don't tell me race isn't relevant when Castile's shooter cared so little about the victim that he murdered him in front of Castile's four year-old daughter. Yes, the Dallas shooting was also unjust. But note that this shooting is not how most people are protesting the aforementioned deaths, this is a case of extremism. If you can support those innocent cops, you can support the people whose lives are being taken by unjust cops.

This issue is not an issue people of color should have to solve. This is an American issue. If you call yourself an American, you have a responsibility to speak up when justice is denied. Because that's what Americans are supposed to stand for: justice.

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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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