For my Systemic Injustice showcase I chose an example of racial discrimination due to policies that were incorporated in the 1950’s that were still in effect until this event. Darrell Semien (picture below) was a black police officer in Louisiana that passed away due to cancer. His wife, Karla, attempted to have him buried at a local cemetery in which they denied her. According to the cemetery’s policy, it stated that only white people were able to purchase plots and be buried there. After this incident went viral on the social media, many demanded justices for this mistreatment. When questioned about the policy they claimed that they simply forgot that it was in there since it was made so long ago. The only reason the policy does not exist anymore is due to the media attention and exposure that it received so this brings to question how many other families were denied because of this and just how many other policies are there that still exist that are discriminatory.
News article covering the story (includes video):
Unfortunately, many of these policies that were created during the period of slavery and afterwards where discrimination was a big issue still exist and go unnoticed. The fact that policies like these can exist that have such an effect against these unfortunate citizens shows that discrimination is still an issue and there has not been a proper reform. Especially since Louisiana was a major southern state that was a massive supporter of slavery and was a main enforcer of the Jim Crow laws, these discriminatory policies are difficult to remove due to lingering resentments among the population. Recently many other examples of discriminatory actions have been receiving attention on social media which results in public out roar and backlash against it. I believe when the backlash from the public causes there to be change and reforms whatever wrong was committed, it can be beneficial for many other ‘hidden’ policies and rules to be removed. I believe this story ties with the readings during week 4. John Lewis’ March was a good example of discriminatory actions and how those injustices affect people.