Saturday, March 7, 2015

Racism in America

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." 

When the United States of America was formed in 1776, this was one of the main foundations to this country as it was stated in the Declaration of Independence. Granted the majority, if not all, of the men who formed this country were racist and owned slaves, but it's sad that in 239 years, we have not changed much when it comes to racism. Yes, slavery was abolished, but black people did not get the same rights as white people until more than half way through the 20th century.

I am not racist and these are just my opinions and the way I see the world today. I don't give a crap what the color of your skin is. You treat me with respect and I will return that respect. You treat me like shit and I will treat you like shit. With that said, a lot of what is in the media today pisses me off.

All of these young black people being killed by white cops has me frustrated. Not by the fact that they are dying because it's sad and horrible and shouldn't happen, but by the way everyone is reacting to it and the way the media is reporting it.

If a black person is killed by a white cop, it makes the top story in the news. If a white person is killed by a cop of any race, you NEVER hear about it. Sound fair or equal to you? Not to me.

This country is so focused on not offending anyone that we've ended up offending everyone. We all have to be politically correct that we don't even know what to say anymore.

I feel like I need to defend myself sometimes because I'm white. Most of the time I feel like I'm being punished for what white people did two centuries ago. Slavery was abolished in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution 150 years ago. As far as I know my ancestors didn't own slaves. They may have had black nannies, but even nannies back then were white. And that's only one side of my family. My other side is Irish. You want to talk about discrimination in the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, try coming to this country with pale skin, copper-colored hair, blue eyes and freckles. In the early 1900's most black people could get a job, whereas my ancestors faced the signs saying, "No Irish need apply." The Conscription Act of 1863 declared that white men between the ages of 18 and 45 were eligible for the draft and the poor men, most of which were Irish, couldn't buy their way out unlike the rich, but the free black men were only permitted to volunteer to join the Union Army. (Citation: Library of Congress

The majority of black African-Americans and white Irish-Americans have faced harsh discrimination and still do today, you just don't hear about the discrimination against white people. Think I'm wrong? Someone can set up a scholarship fund and only accept applications for black African-Americans and it's fine, but if someone sets up the same type of scholarship for only white Irish-Americans it's discrimination against people of color. Fair? No it's not.

I'm sorry that people who are not white have faced horrible things in the past and today, but does that mean that your lives matter more than the lives of white people? Lives of all people matter. Some black people lost their lives due to cops and a Hispanic cop and an Asian cop were murdered in cold-blood. Is this what defines America today? We're not perfect but what country is?

And then you have the rioting. Seriously what makes it okay to destroy other people's property and livelihood when someone is killed? According to the First Amendment of the Constitution, we have the Freedoms of speech, press, religion, and PEACEFUL assembly/protest. You aren't protected under the First Amendment if you riot and burn businesses, cars or homes. And then there is stopping traffic by blocking the cars of people who are just trying to go about their daily business. Don't disrupt my life because I choose to protest or believe a different way than you. You want to stand on a freeway where cars are going 70 MPH or faster, well... that just makes you an idiot.

With all of the situations where men and women have lost their lives by the hands of police officers, we don't know exactly what prompted the officers to shoot. Anything can look like a gun, knife or any other weapon from even a few feet away. If officers feel their lives or the lives of innocent people are at risk, they are trained to shoot. In the case of Eric Garner in New York, I disagree with the choke hold because of what happened to Mr. Garner. That never should have happened. I do agree with making it mandatory for officers to wear cameras on them. We require them for the patrol cars, why not the officers themselves? That way we could know exactly what happened and not assume the potentially wrong reason. I don't want this to come off that I'm just defending the cops because they happen to match the color of my skin. I will defend them because they are sworn to defend me and until someone gives me concrete evidence to prove otherwise, this is what I will believe. If an officer shoots first because of the race of the other person and doesn't feel threatened beforehand, they don't deserve to be a cop.

We look at ourselves as Native American, African-American, Asian-American, Latino/Hispanic-American. Why can we just be AMERICAN? I am American and I'm proud of it and I happen to have Irish, Italian, Scottish, German, English, and even a little Cherokee blood in me (what can I say? I'm a European mutt). Can we all stop focusing on the color of skin and start focusing on the things we do that makes us human. To the media, instead of saying, "An unarmed black man was killed by a white cop" how about, "An unarmed man was killed by a cop." It's not hard, but that doesn't make a very good story now does it?

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