Black justice is not blue death

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Fabienne Fleurantin/Staff writer

 

While it’s true that literature often depicts real events, author Toni Morrison’s words were unfortunately proven true July 17.

“You? You’re going to kill people?”

“Not people. White people.”

“But why?”

“I just told you. It’s necessary; it’s got to be done. To keep the ratio the same.”

I once read this excerpt from Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” as words of fiction. Now because of one hateful man, they have become fact.

President Barack Obama stood in front of a solemn crowd on July 12 to honor the officers killed in the line of duty by military veteran, Micah Xavier Johnson. Infuriated by the senseless deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Johnson shot and killed five police officers during a Dallas protest. Officials said that “he was upset about police shootings and wanted to kill white police officers,” according to npr.org.

The president discussed how often he has spoken during these times of crisis, and that more needs to be done in order to enact positive progression.

“We’re used to them. I’ve seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change. I’ve seen how inadequate my own words have been,” Obama said, as cited on ABC News.

Although this tragedy is devastating, he disputed that it’s not right to undermine the issues affecting African Americans.

“We cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protests as troublemakers or paranoid,” the president said.

“You can’t simply dismiss it as a symptom of police correctness or reverse racism. To have your experience denied like that, dismissed by those in authority, dismissed perhaps even by your white friends and co-workers and fellow church members, again and again and again? It hurts. Surely, we can see that. All of us.”

The Dallas sniper attack occurred because of one man’s skewed perspective and destructive impulse. But this one act of violence does not define the Black Lives Matter movement. We as black men and women are fighting toward proactive change, not the absence of white lives.

We are living within a fractured system where fear has clouded our judgment and that needs to change.

“Systemic racism has maintained oppression in our society,” said Marissa Lucchesi, advisor for the Black Student Union. “Police officers are being trained to be afraid of black people and racially profile, but they are not being trained in systemic racism. In the cases with Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, police officers are already coming into these situations with preconceived notions. We are setting them up for failure because we are not teaching them how to identify racism.”

Our misconceptions have brought us to where we are today, and now these men in blue—Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, and Michael Smith—have lost their lives because of it. That isn’t right. In order to prevent this from happening again, we have to fix what is broken.

“As a society, we are unwilling to recognize the weaknesses that we have, and part of it is the lack of willingness to learn. Until we are willing to make these changes, we will continue to see systemic racism. We have to take an active role in all these issues because these things are intertwined,” Lucchesi said.

Black lives do matter. So do blue lives. Just because protesters scream for black justice doesn’t mean they are vying for the murder of white men and women in uniform. Nor does it mean that they should be seen as thugs or dangerous threats to avoid.

These heroes in blue protect our people and put their own lives on the line to keep the peace. That does not mean that they approve of black people being killed. Nor does it mean that we should classify all men and women in blue as vicious villains that deserve to be persecuted. However, when a crime is committed, accountability has to be taken.

“We need to think critically about why officers are not being held accountable in ways that the average American would like to see. The justice system is doing what they feel is serving justice instead of solving it,” Lucchesi said.

We as a society need to understand this concept— that a portrayal of a race or profession does not define someone’s character. If we learn to adopt and follow through on this idea, maybe then we can begin to heal as a nation.

 

 

DISCLAIMER

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

 

Image by Garry Lauzon, retrieved from Flickr:
Black Lives Matter

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