Orlando Campus Finalist
Social inequality has been a controversial topic since the beginning of time. These times illustrate how blatantly the African American community has been disrespected, targeted, and murdered without probable cause by prejudiced oppressors. Never in my life have I seen so much hate and violence towards my community and it truly saddens me. All you hear on the news and social media is another senseless shooting or police brutality incident. I have a father, brothers, uncles, cousins and my partner and I fear for their wellbeing every single day.
Personally, I have dealt with prejudice and a few racial slurs, but in my opinion, those were minor compared to what is happening now. In high school I was one of a few black students in the engineering, science, and technology program at Edgewater. I was in the tenth grade and we had received our grades from some vocabulary test in my AP English course. One of the Caucasian students said to me “Wow, you must be pretty smart to score that high,” to which I replied, “It is a little strategy called studying, maybe you should give it a try”. Now at the time I did not think much of it, but upon reflection that statement spoke volumes. It was meant to belittle my intelligence, undermine my femininity and to destroy my culture’s integrity assuming that as a black person, I could not have been that smart or I had to cheat in some way. And it is that negativity and ignorance that corrupts our society and causes so much division between us.
African Americans are not looked at as human beings, we are sources of entertainment for our white counterparts. We are considered short-tempered, violent, ignorant, and thieves that mooch off welfare and abandon our children. Our mannerisms, style, hairstyles have been exploited and for the most part, have been accredited to whites like they suddenly had a brilliant idea and were the originators. This must stop, cultural appropriation without proper recognition is played out and we are no longer standing for it. And this violence against us has lasted long enough. My boyfriend in our early days of dating, would get pulled over and violated without cause just because he is black. Although sometimes it would be minor speeding or an improper lane change, he was required to step out of his vehicle, police would illegally search his vehicle and he even had a gun pulled on him once, the only thing that saved him was the fact his brother was with law enforcement. I could not even imagine living one day in a black males’ shoes.
Social media can be marvelous, and it could also be chaotic. I have never really been into politics or current events, but the black lives matter movement and the recent George Floyd murder had me particularly stirred up. I could not sit idly and watch all the hateful comments and justifications following the murder. I posted my opinions and I am also making it my business to vote, not necessarily during the primaries, but for the senate and congress levels, because that is how changes are made. The president is just a face for the United States and in cases of distress, the person everyone blames when we do not agree with something. I am also starting to support black businesses more because to inspire change we must support each other and uplift one another.
In conclusion, police brutality and profiling have escalated to an all-time high and it is unwarranted. All lives matter, but black lives have been overlooked for too long. I am going to make sure I do my part and furthering the efforts of my black brothers and sisters and I would expect the same from them. The time for change is now and we will be heard this time. No compromising, no deals, and no small victories. We have to strike while the iron is hot and demand change not just for this moment, but for all future generations to ensure their safety.