With the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Dallas police officers Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa, this week has been heartbreaking to say the least. Millions of people like myself have been seeing news articles and videos about all of the victims' shootings, and with so many lives lost, it's become quite depressing to watch.
Some people have chosen to deal with the tragedies by protesting in their communities and voicing their opinions online, while others have strayed away from focusing on the negatives and instead onto the positives, which is #CarefreeBlackKids2k16. This hashtag was created on Twitter by Heben Nigatu, and it's basically a compilation of videos about exactly what's being stated -- black kids being carefree. Here are some short clips that people tweeted with the hashtag; they're sure to put a smile on your face!
After the hashtag took off, Nigatu tweeted about why she started the trend in the first place. She says that it's because she wanted to bring some joy into our day, and I'm pretty sure we can all agree that it was a fantastic idea, considering everything that's recently happened. However, after thinking more about #CarefreeBlackKids2k16, I find that there's also a deeper meaning.
I don't think Nigatu meant to touch on this subject when tweeting #CarefreeBlackKids2k16, but I find that the hashtag says a lot about how black people are viewed in today's society. Now, I'm not black, so I cannot speak from personal experience, but I can reflect on what I've seen, heard, and learned about in my 18 years of life.
Most people today understand that there's a huge difference in how kids and adults of different races are treated in society today. As young children, we're all (including black kids) completely innocent and carefree, living in a happy safe world. But as years go by and everyone grows older, black kids suddenly have to start watching out for themselves around the police and racist individuals. Even parents start feeling the need to teach their kids how to survive while being black because, these days, saying the wrong thing or making the wrong move could result in being shot dead. Here's a tweet that Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren, posted just a few days ago reflecting on this week's tragedies.
Obviously, most kids -- no matter what race they are -- are taught how to deal with cops and racist people, but it's only to a certain extent. For example, I'm Asian (more specifically, Indian) and my parents have gone over what information I'm supposed to give cops if I ever get pulled over when driving. But that's it. I've never been taught anything more than that, nor have I ever been worried about not knowing more. I wouldn't be surprised if the same case applied to many other non-black people, because the fact is, we're less likely to be targets than those who are black. It's an unfortunate reality, but the lessons in this three-minute video are absolutely real.
I know this article is focusing on black individuals, but I do want to say that the only other group of people I think would be an exemption to the case mentioned before are Muslims. With all that's going on with ISIS and the Middle East today, Muslims are another targeted group who also have to be extra cautious around the police and racist individuals in the U.S. Plus, it doesn't help that conservatives like Donald Trump want to ban them from the country.
Anyway, getting back to #CarefreeBlackKids2k16 -- the point in saying all of this is to highlight how this hashtag is more than just a trend about cute black kids singing and dancing. As much as I'd like to believe that that's it, it's also a trend that shows the "before" picture of what society is going to destroy in the future if black people (and also other minorities) don't start being treated fairly. Rather than being admired for being carefree and innocent, these kids will soon be wrongfully judged and mistreated for having a darker skin color. People will once again have to rely on hashtags just to see the good left in the world, and if that's not enough, this will continue to be a reminder for America to wake up and actually do something about racism, gun violence, and police brutality.