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Your Skin Colour Is NOT a Crime!

America’s Bigotry Through the Eyes of a Brit

Throughout the years, the USA have been notorious for ignoring the bigoted attitudes police officers have towards the Black community and how the government fails to protect all citizens no matter the colour of their skin. Despite the constitution, news reports consistently represent African American males as the perpetrator rather than the victim; this in stark comparison to their male Caucasian counterparts. The media portrays these human beings as always being involved with police when an crime arises and creates false representation of the community as a whole. Current crime coverage chooses to focus on the crime itself rather than who commits these crimes, therefore generating a distorted perspective on biased assumptions. The overrepresentation of Caucasians as a victim of crimes perpetrated by minorities only exaggerates the crimes actually committed by African Americans and downplays their victimisation in society.

Kenneth Chamberlain Sr, an African-American male, was fatally shot in November 2011 by several NYPD officers when his LifeAid medical necklace triggered an alarm for help. Despite him saying he didn’t need assistance, police officers broke down his door, tasered him and shot him numerous times; he was a retired marine with no prior convictions. Philando Castile is another man subjected to racial discrimination. He was murdered by a police officer in front of his traumatised wife and daughter for possessing a weapon which the police officer accused him of pulling out after being pulled over for bearing a resemblance to a man involved in a store robbery a few days prior; these allegations were false. Unbelievably, all the officers involved were acquitted of all charges.

Fear and cultural stereotypes of African Americans is an unreasonable justification for excessive force. The police are suppose to enforce a system that protects all citizens of the United States, removing skin colour as a factor to change. Many statements have arisen from the Black community preaching that the government has failed their community, but how can they fail their community when it wasn’t initially designed to protect them? In 2016, 97 percent of cases of police brutality failed to result in any officer involved being charged with a crime (Mapping Police Violence) and 1 out of every 3 people that are killed by police officers in any given year in the USA is African American/Black (according to Mapping Police Violence).

Police officers in the USA have pretty minimal to no training when using their firearms. They are only provided with 40-80 hours of overall firearms training and may never train again with their weapons during the rest of their careers. America tries to justify their police officer’s lack of training by stating it's too expensive to allow all officers to have regular firearm courses. With this and the influence of stereotypical statements that divide us as a society, America is giving birth to fearful cops that shoot to kill.

Men placed in this position of power who do not have the ability to judge a situation correctly and without fear will harm innocent people, and when this happens those responsible must be held as accountable as anyone else. The police are not above the law! No crimes were committed by these men and their families' beloved memories will be clouded with the face of the men who took them away.

On average, in the United States, a police officer takes the life of a citizen every 7 hours, and according to the US department of justice, 84 percent of police officers have stated that they have directly witnessed a fellow officer using more force than was necessary. This is inevitable due to the lack of training US police officers receive for firearms compared to here in the UK. Constables in England aren’t even allowed to carry any kind of firearm, on or off duty, and are required to have years of training under their belt before even applying to be an AFO (Authorised Firearms Official). Even then, constant courses are required to keep the level of safety and practice up to date. 

Black Lives Matter have felt like the only voice for their community and trying to encourage the oppressor to see reason is becoming difficult. People of other racial groups suddenly feel threatened and feel that their lives don’t matter at all when the movement stands up; this is far from the case and caused the creation of ‘White Lives Matter’ as a response rather than a movement. It doesn’t disregard all other lives on this earth (like saying the rainforest matters doesn’t mean screw all other trees), it simply addresses the issues within the Black community that others don’t share. Since police brutality falls on a deaf ear within the media, the Black community have stepped up to fight for their future. The fact that humanity has to clarify that any lives matter should be concern enough!

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