On Systemic Racism: Where do we draw the line???

Hello my people! Hope you had a restful weekend?

This week, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. This past week in the U.S, has been filled with News of one violence or the other. It’s like every single day, there’s either a mass shooting happening somewhere or a police shooting of an unarmed black person happening in another place. It’s has truly been exhausting, to say the least! One good news we got this week though, is that justice was served in the trial of Derrick Chauvin! *Sigh

As a person of color, I am not in denial that this country has a lot of issues with systemic racism. I am also not in denial, that racism is a problem that affects the world in general. Let’s be clear on this though: that each and everyone of us have a part to play in fighting racism. It starts from the home. As we all should know: “Charity begins at home”. Children aren’t born to hate other people for any reason whatsoever. Children are taught to hate. My toddler for example loves to interact with other kids regardless of how they look. My plan is to teach her to continue with that attitude and show love to people whether white, black or red!

There’s been a lot of conversations around what happened to 16 year old Makhia last week. We had just heard about the conviction of Chauvin when this incident with Makhia occurred. The first thing I saw on social media was that a teenager called the police for help, the police arrived and found a knife in the hand of the teenager and then shot her. I’m not quick to jump on using hashtags without knowing what truly happened. So while I sympathized with another tragic death of a black person, I waited for more information. Glad I did.

I’m an Attorney by training and I’ve learnt to carefully look at facts and analyze these facts before drawing a conclusion. My ability to look at facts and analyze them does not suddenly disappear just because the situation involves a white police officer and a black person.

When the murder of George Floyd happened, the whole world watched and saw the injustice that happened to that man. It was so evident that he did not deserve to die that way. George Floyd was not resisting arrest. Even if he did, that excessive force by Derrick would not have been justified. George Floyd was not armed. Even if he was, as long as he wasn’t using it to threaten the police officer or other people, that excessive force would still not have been justified. The whole world saw and knew this and agreed on this. The police force agreed on this. I used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on my social media account to lend my voice to this movement and to really let people know that we all need to come together to fight this systemic racism.

When the killing of Daunte Wright happened, I was also mad. Why will a police officer with that much experience mistake a gun (with a very dark color) for a taser (with a very bright color)? I believe the contrast in the color was intentional to protect people from mistakes such as this. I may be wrong, but that’s what I think. It won’t make sense for a gun to look exactly like a taser.

Shortly after people took to the streets of social media for Makhia’s case, the body cam of the police officer involved in the shooting was released. What I saw in that video is absolutely different from what I had seen people say on social media. That got me thinking. Why will you put that kind of information out on social media and not tell us what exactly happened? Why will you wait for us to find the truth ourselves through a body cam video? Looking at that video that shows the deceased trying to stab someone else, made me realize that police officer was in a DIFFICULT SITUATION.

I have had this conversation with some friends and I keep using the phrase “Difficult Situation”. I use the phrase because the officer literally had seconds to decide how best to protect the lady that is about to stabbed before his very eyes! The video also shows two adults standing on the side, one of whom kicked the head of another lady. So many thoughts came to mind as to how this tragic death could have been prevented. These adults that were present saw the police were already there. At this point, no one should be trying to defend themselves. If they do, that will be taking the law into their hands. If someone really called the police for help, should that person be the aggressor when the police arrives? If the adults that were there could obviously see that the police was now there, could they have cautioned the teenager to drop the knife and not attempt to stab another person, seeing that the act alone could put the girl in jail? People say “oh the police officer did not wait to find out what happened before shooting”. My question is how long did he have to find out what happened while seeing another lady about to stabbed? Does knowing what happened make the act of stabbing another person right? Past police officers have talked about how they were trained to act in situations like these. May be we should be advocating for better training of police officers in this case and teach them how to de escalate without killing people. However, I think it’s safe to say that officer acted in a way he was trained to act.

I understand that my community (the black community) is mad at how blacks have been treated in the past and is still being treated badly today. We have every right to be mad. My question though is: where do we draw the line between the just actions of a police officer and those that are unjust. I think there should be a line and we shouldn’t be calling all police encounters with black people racist. If we are calling every incident racist, I don’t think anyone will listen to us and take us seriously. That will then affect a situation where it is so clear that something unjust has actually happened.

Black Lives Matter and I sincerely hope that everyone who has lost any member of their family to police brutality, get some justice and accountability in the end. My heart goes out to the family of Makhia and regardless of what happened, it doesn’t change the fact that this was a tragedy. I hope and pray the family finds peace.

Finally, we all have the responsibility to do better and make better decisions.

Have a great weekend guys! Please feel free to let me know your thoughts.

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