The black community has suffered at the hands of the police for decades, and it seems things never change no matter how hard we protest. Many people think social injustice is getting worse and many feel it isn’t. In a quote from Will Smith, he suggests, “Racism isn’t getting worse, it’s getting recorded.” I agree, social media/the internet has its cons, but one of its pros is being able to bring things to attention. George Floyd wasn’t the first black man to be choked to death, neither was Eric Garner. But social media allowed millions of people to see what has been going on for hundreds of years.

Many people think slavery was related to people—I believe slavery was related to the mindset of the people. Slaves were killed for the slightest things like talking back and even reading, and people were afraid. So of course they listened to the rules of their master. Slaves who stood up for themselves were sent to “slave breakers” or people designed to break the mentality of the slaves and get them to do what they were told without any objection. Some people may disagree with me and don’t think slavery was related to mentality, but I want to ask, When slaves were emancipated, why did many go back to their owners? If you are strong mentally, you won’t let yourself get hurt by someone many times and keep coming back—you will leave. When these slaves were released they didn’t know how to take care of themselves. They were uneducated, and they figured at least I have food, water, and a place to sleep—and they stayed. Now 150 years later the same things are going on.

Most history taught in schools is just white propaganda; they paint pictures that whites founded America and have basically made America when in reality they have benefited off blacks since they brought us here. In school we talk about the constitution but we don’t talk about how slavery was still going on during the writing of it. We are taught the things they want us to learn like Martin Luther King Jr. but not Jane Bolin, who was the first African American female judge in 1939. Our ancestors fought and died for rights that we have today just for these rights to not be honored. Having a pigment to your skin is not a crime and a way you look, dress, or talk doesn’t make you a criminal.

#Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Botham Jean, Stephon Clark, Philando Castille, Atatiana Jefferson, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Michelle Cusseax, Alton Sterling, Akai Gurley, Tanisha Anderson, and Eric Garner.

The 14 names above have been trending hashtags since 2014, and these are just a very small fraction of how many blacks have been killed by the police since then. It’s not an easy conversation to have, but it has to happen. Why do we learn about Christopher Columbus who killed the Native American inhabitants of America and claimed he founded it instead of learning about Eric Garner who told the police “I can’t breathe” 11 times? We have to educate each other about what’s going on because until then things will remain the same. It’s disheartening to hear what to do or how to act when the police stop you at 12 years old. People don’t think things will change, and I can’t blame them, but we can make a difference together. It won’t happen in days, not even a year, but a start is a start. I would like to ask everyone reading this to educate themselves on the oppression of blacks and the 14 names above.

Joshua Dixon – Marist – DMSF

Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash