I saw this news report as [President Barack] Obama appeared to address himself particularly to white America — implicitly making a point that alienation and a sense of injustice permeating the African-American community must be understood by everyone.
“This isn’t a matter of us comparing the value of lives, this is recognizing that there is a particular burden being placed on a group of our fellow citizens,” he said. “And we should care about that. We can’t dismiss it. We can’t dismiss it” (copied from The Huffington Post).
And there it is! Acknowledging that African-Americans have a much heavier burden. And in all reality, we all know that. Yet we choose to shut our eyes and not see it. Not react to it. To make the change that needs to be — living with this burden is not right!
Yet everything in American culture has fostered and constructed this burden! From the continuation of the plantation slavery system, to the prison industrial complex, to the legal system that infamously says black men are not good fathers, to black men being pulled over by police for driving black. Not to mention being murdered.
There is no difference here between lynching in the ’40s to driving black now!
Was the fight for civil rights merely an exercise in allowing a steam vent of frustration to escape? Was it a misguided smoke-and-mirrors way of ensuring that African-Americans be the brunt of gentrification and life in prison?
Since the era of civil rights, have we seen a huge influx of black Americans in the political system? Have we seem more African-Americans in places of power? No, the only places of marked influence of power has been in the entertainment and sports industry.
And even in the entertainment industry, blacks are portrayed not for their ability but for a stereotype. And then not even rewarded for their work!
So I am begging to ask this question: At what point does white America say it’s enough. We can no longer live with this atrocity.
At what point does black America say this is enough? I am equal and I will be seen as such! And know I can protest without fear of being murdered? Or I can drive my car, and I will not even give a second thought to not making it home to hug my child tonight because I was stopped by law officials.
At what point do we as Americans connected by our living in the same country finally say we all will make sure that not another child is left parentless because of our categorical prejudices.
At what point do we empower each other to share this terrible burden until there is no longer a burden?
At what point do we all take responsibility for change? From the way we use language to the sensationalized media to music that denigrates and then to eradicating institutionalized racism.
And please, if we accept the call to change, it is not the change of political fluff. But the change of deep divisional prejudicial divides.
Do we need to implode before we can change the negativity of our DNA? Is this truly the legacy we want to continue?
— Ariel Harris