Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: An Examination of The Targeting of Black and Ethnic Youth by Police in America
Table of Contents
II. A History of Racism in America
III. The Michael Brown Case
IV. Other Cases
V. Problems & Causes
VI. The Viewpoints
VII. Next Steps & Solutions
It can be seen that throughout history and “across cultures, darker people suffer most” (Andre 3000). The United States of America is a country built on the backs of slaves and the success of exploitation and colonization of third world countries. (Selfa) Racism has, quite literally, been built into every aspect of American society over hundreds of years. Though many strides have been made to support equality and liberty among races, a more subtle and sharp form of discrimination has emerged. Surfacing in many avenues, such as media portrayals, white superiority and targeting by police. The recent shooting of an 18 year old, unarmed black boy has resulted in an uprising of black and ethnic people calling attention to the racism engrained into America’s police force. (Gillis) They are asking for justice for the hundreds of innocent, ethnic youth who have been killed by white police officers. Though the issue holds many complex causes and viewpoints, it has become impossible to ignore. The targeting of black and ethnic youth by police in America is a problem due to institutionalized racism and will result in further death and alienation if change does not occur.
II. A History of Racism in America
It is a well-known, yet undiscussed subject that America was established by the killing of millions of Native Americans and then the slavery of Africans. Though somewhat unintentional, the arrival of Europeans in North America resulted in the death of 95-114 million aboriginals, through disease and war introduced by the Europeans. (Vaughn) This is where the mistreatment and discrimination of ethnic groups by white people begins. It is said by Eric Williams that, “Slavery was not born of racism: rather, racism was the consequence of slavery”. However, for many of the first developing years of America, many of the “unfree” laborers – or slaves – were white. Racism began in America, when unfree labor became synonymous with black labor and the ideology of white supremacy was established. With this came the idea that black people are inferior, lesser in every way and should not have any power. This can be seen in the law that was created, banning marriage between whites and blacks, establishing the idea that black people are dirty, and that the white people of America are inherently better and more deserving then them. As slavery continued and evolved, so did white supremacy, becoming an excuse for the outright mistreatment of black slaves. If black people are biologically an inferior race, they do not need basic human rights. Eventually however, slaves were no longer profitable, and the slave trade was eliminated during the civil war. Unfortunately, freedom of slaves changed racism for the worse, creating competition between the races in which white people had the power and support to win every time. (Selfa) After slavery, racism in America was forced to adapt. Though black people were now free from the horrors of slavery, they continued to be denied the same rights as whites. Racial segregation laws acted to reduce African Americans to a lower status and extreme racist propaganda put in place stereotypes that are still an influence today. (Fredrickson) These factors also contributed to justify the practice of lynching, which took 3,437 black lives. (Gibson) The climax of racism came in the form of overtly racism regimes, hitting their extreme in Germany during the Holocaust. The actions of...
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