There has been a pandemic in existence well before the novel Coronavirus reared it’s ugly head in 2020. The pandemic of institutionalized racism has been plaguing the lives of black and brown people in America for hundreds of years. People of color have been, and continue to be regarded as less than human and not worthy of empathy for as long as anyone alive can remember.
Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States and provides that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”.
The wording of the 13th amendment only opened the door for black men to be incarcerated at a rate that far exceeds the arrests of any race, anywhere. Not only in the United States, but anywhere else on earth. The typical racist would argue that black men and women are more prone to crime and violence, but refuse to admit that the United States judicial system is designed to incarcerate black men. The history of America’s judicial system has deep roots of Klan membership. Police departments were formed to police black people because our racist government could not legally enslave blacks anymore. Mass incarceration was the next step.
Police brutality is a well known fixture in any black community. A crime may be committed, but the issue is how non-violent people of color are treated during arrest in contrast to how non-violent white people are taken into custody. There is a total and blatant disregard for life on a grand scale when it comes to people of color.
The death of George Floyd was the proverbial “straw that broke the camels back”. How many times will we watch the police murder an unarmed person who is no threat to them? How many times will we make excuses for the boys in blue until we start holding them accountable for upholding and respecting the same laws they press upon us?
What side of history will you stand on when the dust settles? Will you stop saying “All lives matter” in response to black lives matter? Will you stop dredging up the past of victims of police brutality to justify why the officer needed to use excessive force? Will you stop bringing up Chicago every time a black man is murdered by the police in cold blood?
What side of history will you stand on? Will you be able to tell your grandchildren that you stood arm in arm with brothers and sisters of different races to combat the atrocities that our government continues to allow to happen? Will you be able to tell them that you were a part of the movement for change? Or will you continue to be complacent, stand by and do and say nothing? Will you continue to not hold your family and friends accountable for their disgusting preconceived notions of POC? The change begins with us, right here, right now, while the entire world is listening. What side of history will you be on?