Malcolm X: Police brutality and issues in the justice system due to institutionalized racism.

My dear brothers and sisters, how would you feel if I told you that the white man institution that is meant to serve and protect us in this country are secretly plotting to take away all the have rights we fought for, to take away the freedom we fought for and the lives of all black boys and girls that live in “freedom” that we fought for? In all the history books we learn about wars we fought against other nations, meanwhile, we never noticed the war that has been going on since our ancestors set foot on this land after they were kidnapped from their homes and placed onto ships to be sold to the highest bidder. This war is a 1-sided war. Only the white man, dressed in all blue, is given the right to kill and a gun to holster. Every day countless black lives are taken by these men in uniforms that say they fight for justice. I do not see the justice! I see a disproportionately treating system that puts black brothers and sisters at risk, just for having some melanin in our skin. Many of these idealistic morals of law and order that these men in uniform flaunt disappear when they see a person of color. What more new oppressions should we face in society and fear?

George Floyd, a brave man who was murdered in broad daylight by “officers of the law”. Breonna Taylor, a young woman who was shot eight times… eight times! During a botched raid apartment as a part of an investigation into drug dealing operations. These are the lies that these officers spread to justify their actions of pure violence and Gore. Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old ER technician at the University of Louisville health. (Richard Oppel, 2020) We work so hard to be a part of this society and the harsh truth is that some of us will never truly fit in as even though our ancestors made this nation the great superpower that it is, it has never truly belonged to us as the ownership of the land always belonged to the white man on a piece of paper.

All these cases highlight that the struggle is still ongoing between law enforcement and the African American community due to internalized societal racism and incorrect police training. This struggle led to movements such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Defund the police” which were both outcries from the African American community to bring attention to this blatantly open racist treatment of African American youth. These movements have been critiqued for spawning riots across the United States of America and have had counter-movements such as “blue lives matter” which is a movement dedicated to protecting law enforcement officers in the case that they might get their federal funding reduced due to ongoing tensions. This shows that some people on the other side do not care. Their only reason to protest is to suppress our voices. These modern-day revolutionary movements are necessary as they point out fatal flaws in the law enforcement training system.

For starters, the duration of the training in the police Academy varies however it usually takes about 13 to 19 weeks on average for a person to be able to serve as a police officer. The reason why this is a flaw is that this time frame is not enough first someone to be trained proficiently at law enforcement and hence people with little experience are put in high-stress life or death situations and they judge the issue by instinct which is a lot of the times the reason for why a minority loses their life during police confrontations.

Although right-wing media organizations such as Fox News paint these occurrences of police brutality to have nothing to do with the race but all to do with the actions of the individuals that are killed by showing statistics to support their claims, they do not understand the key underlying issue which is that the police are meant to enforce the law and not take the law in their own hands. Hence, any life taken by a police officer, whether it be a black person or a white person, is a failure of the law enforcement system. These media organizations always want to talk about how our black brothers and sisters are disproportionately in jail for committing crimes. They will be the first to cite the statistic that African Americans make 50% of the jail population even though they are 13% of the American population but what they do not understand is that are black communities and neighborhoods are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement and our brothers and sisters are also more highly likely to be incarcerated. For some of us being incarcerated for a crime might even be the easy way out of a confrontation with law enforcement as every time we walk past a police officer we never even know if we are going to make it back home for dinner.

In recent statistics, it has been stated that black people are more than 2.5 times as likely to be killed by the police than white Americans, and all those social scientists dispute the root cause of this difference one thing that is for sure is that when a police officer takes another person’s life, the responsibility for doing so inherently lies with that police officer and the institution of law enforcement.

These deadly encounters have led to repeated calls for police reform and in 2018 the New York Police Department began a program for implicit bias training which caused a butterfly effect for various other police departments across the US. One of the most effective ways for helping communities hire better police officers is personality psychology. Unlike clinical assessments that are used to diagnose personality disorders, modern personality assessments are used to predict everyday work behavior, how effectively people do their jobs, and how people respond under stress. these assessments can promote diversity and inclusion by providing an unbiased view of the candidates fit to serve as a law enforcement officer. (Center for Policing Equity, 2019)

If the great leader Martin Luther King Jr. was still alive, correction, if the white man had not brutally murdered my dear friend, Martin Luther King Jr. to make a statement that every effort the black man or woman puts into fighting for freedom will always be met with backlash, he would have told us all that we should work together to achieve his dream of one day being equal. But we have tried, we have been trying and what the people of this nation respond to is a spectacle. Although the end goal for both of us was always diplomatic resolutions. No one was talking about the murder of George Floyd till we took to the streets with our voice and our fists in the air. The narrative they have drawn against us is that this is unnecessary violence. Does that mean the life of our brothers and sisters are unnecessary causes to spark outrage? Does that mean that the white man does not want to see any progress in race relations as that would inherently put them at a position of not being able to oppress and keep us under the heel of their shoe?

In the day and age of social media, people have short attention spans and political and cultural issues become trends that last a week. although there has been a sudden spike of interest in the conversation of the oppression of African American communities in America, this is not enough. We needed to start a commotion in order to start a conversation. And even then, our voices will be attempted to be suppressed as there will be new political issues at hand, but we need to realize that this is a battle that is never going to completely end. Even in a hundred years, we will have to struggle to fit into a community that has never completely accepted us, but that must not stop us from at least trying to fight for equality while embracing the history of our ancestors.

Just as we have now brought attention to our cause we must continue to persevere as the only way we are getting far from where we were we need the determination to continuously show that we are not going to bear any treatment less than equal. Start petitions! Start protests! Start workshops! Start educating your neighbors! Start the conversation… if it makes people uncomfortable it means that is working as change can only happen when people are willing to see the problem.

What a world we live in?! The same nation we helped build with our blood and sweat has its own inhabitants plot against our demise as a people! In police departments across the nation try to save themselves from criticism saying that this is just the result of a few bad apples. However, if those few bad apples are not put to justice then the entire institution of policing is corrupt as in that sense, they are accomplices, watching from the sidelines as hundreds of our brothers and sisters are killed.

Now I know that there will always be the inherently racist. the people that will always look at African Americans as “drug dealers” or “gang members” and the sad truth is that this is what more than 300 years of oppression and being painted in a bad picture by the media looks like. We must not let these people dictate what we do with our lives. we must take this false narrative and show the American audience that our people are more than just “drug dealers” or “gang members”. We are doctors, teachers, engineers, and an active part of society just like everyone else. Even though in the modern-day workforce we see employment discrimination and flaws in the education system that disproportionately disadvantage the African American community, we have still established ourselves with great black people such as Kamala Harris, Muhammad Ali, Barack Obama, and countless other brothers and sisters that gave their all to prove themselves in their field for a better future for the world.

I have said time and time again that “we are oppressed, we are exploited, we are downtrodden, we are denied not only civil rights but also human rights. So, the only way we are going to get some of this oppression and exploitation away from us is if we come together against the common enemy.” (smithsonianchannel, 2018) The common enemy however is not the white man; it is the system that has kept us down for years and is continuing to oppress us with this false narrative that we will never be equal. We are human too and it’s time we show the system that we are not settling for anything less than equal!

 

Work Cited

“Police Brutality, a Structural and an Institutional Problem.” Center for Policing Equity, Center for Policing Equity, 17 July 2019, policingequity.org/newsroom/media-coverage/police-brutality-a-structural-and-an-institutional-problem.

Oppel, Richard A., et al. “What to Know About Breonna Taylor’s Death.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 May 2020, www.nytimes.com/article/breonna-taylor-police.html.

“The Problem of Police Brutality.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-situation-lab/202007/the-problem-police-brutality.

smithsonianchannel. “Malcolm X’s Fiery Speech Addressing Police Brutality.” YouTube, YouTube, 16 Feb. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_uYWDyYNUg&ab_channel=SmithsonianChannel.

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