I was talking to an African American friend of mine last week while we were both scrolling through the popular app “TikTok”. He came across a video where a white man was walking around a couple of police officers and teasing them. He turned around to me and said, “Wow, that dude is lucky he is white, I doubt they would let that action slide if he was a black dude.” Little did he know I had also seen the video on my feed a couple hours earlier. I told him to check the comments because I knew what he would find, and he was greeted with many other people commenting almost the identical sentence he had just said. This was one of those moments where it was absolutely prevalent, and sad, how many African American men and women go every day fearing their own police force.
There is a known systemic injustice against African American citizens in the United States where the police force in certain areas have a racist bias. To me, the existence of this systemic injustice was never as clear as when you compare the Black Lives Matter protests to the recent storming of the capitol building in early January of this year. The police were brutal when it came to the BLM peaceful protests and marches. There was countless acts of police brutality and violence used against the African Americans protesting their rights after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer, another example of this systemic injustice. Then, not long after, a bunch of white supremacists, some consider terrorists, stormed the nation’s capital building. There was barely any force to try and stop them even though this was not even a form of peaceful protest, and more like an act of terrorism. Just witnessing how different these two events were handled, seemingly just because of the color of the people’s skin, is truly horrifying to see, and instills even more fear into those African Americans who are already fearful to even be near a police officer.
This is clearly a form of systemic injustice because of the number of times acts like this have been witnessed. I feel like this is such a difficult injustice to be righted since racism is so deep rooted, but a good start would be for police to have more consequence if it is found that they unjustly treated an African American citizen worse than the situation required. The usage of body cameras on officers is also a good step in the right direction. I think the best way to relate this topic to class is with Simone de Beauvoir’s concept of the the “One” vs the “Other”. In this case, the group of people clearly being treated as the “other” in our society, according to the situations being discussed, are people of African American decent. Although sad, like I said, it is not a new concept in the United States. It is unfair and cruel to single out a group of people like this and no one, especially an entire group of people, should have to deal with such a fear and issue in their society. Overall, this is just one of the many examples of deep-rooted systemic injustices in our country.