O Say, Can you see, the Racism in this Coun-t-ry.

Amantha Hood, Editor-in-Chief

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Colin Kaepernick, 49ers NFL athlete, has been a prevalent topic throughout the United States, and it’s not because of football.

Kaepernick is protesting against oppressions of people of color, police brutality and the lack of prosecution of police officers who have murdered African Americans.

The media is picking up on Kaepernick’s stance, because he chooses not to stand during each NFL pre-game national anthem. Many find it disrespectful that he will not stand for the flag or the national anthem, but there is a deeper message that people are failing to examine.

Lawrence Doty, professor at Linfield College, said, “It is unfortunate that this issue has actually been politicized to the point that it is overshadowing the real issue of police brutality and killings against black men.”

The problem that many people have is that the American flag tends to represent patriotism and respect to those who have served for this country.

During Kaepernick’s press conference he gives a deeper explanation expressing his respect to his relatives, friends, and other men and women who have fought for America. He is using his platform to wake America up to deeper systemic issues that are impacting the lives of many.

Any aware citizen has witnessed recent media coverage of the many murders of African American men and women in the past two years alone by police shootings. Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, and Alton Sterling are just a few names that quickly come to my mind, because their deaths too, have gained media coverage.

The coverage is important because many are oblivious to the systemic problems African Americans face in this country.

Videos surface, and still, people find an excuse why the black man or woman was in the wrong.

By defending the murderers, one is ultimately defending racism, which makes one racist. There is a lot of bias in policing since racism is a problem in America.

Racism is based on power and being inferior to other people. When racism is embedded into systems such as policing, it makes sense how mass incarcerations of people of color are the norm in this country.

This wrongly influences people’s perceptions, and leaves them to not question issues, simply because these are not issues they have to face daily.

Not only is this a scary topic, it is also a topic that many get ridiculed for standing up against.

Racism is key to America’s existence. The fact that so many African Americans are being murdered, and there are not convictions or prosecutions of the murderers, is enough proof that racism is still an issue.

These young men and woman being murdered are modern day cases of Emmett Till. If you have never heard that name, I suggest you do research and study more African American history.

These are small altercations, which turn into another lost son, daughter, brother or sister.

Nobody deserves to lose their life because of the lack of police training and education in America. It takes longer for a student to get through cosmetology school, than it does for a police officer to get through their academy training.

African Americans have had to alter their beings to fit into a society that accepts these aggressions.

There is one topic African American parents have to discuss with their children at a young age that Caucasian parent’s do not have to, but still should teach.

The topic involves how to correctly cooperate with police officers, how to handle micro-aggressions and how to handle the daily set back of racism.

Kaepernick’s stance shows how quickly it upsets America when a man will not be patriotic for his country.

The main message is, were you mad when another African American person was killed in police custody?

Perhaps Kaepernick would stand up for the national anthem if more people would stand up against discrimination, racism and police brutality.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “O Say, Can you see, the Racism in this Coun-t-ry.”

  1. Harry Meanwell on January 19th, 2017 3:03 am

    Racism in the United States still exists, but the country as a whole has improved immensely, and continues to improve as time goes on. Americans should be proud of this, and continue making these improvements.

    It is increasingly disturbing to see these police shootings on television. Additionally, it is even more disturbing to see that news media continually seeks out these types of stories because it improves viewership. When looking at these things, it’s always interesting to think about the community in which one resides. For example, in Portland, when was the last police shooting where a police officer killed someone? It appears that the last time this happened was December 6th, 2016. What is interesting about this story is that the subject killed was a 52 year old, white, male. However, if one looks at the Oregonian article, it doesn’t report the man’s race once (http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2016/12/portland_police_shoot_kill_man.html). Why is this? Furthermore, why didn’t this story make it onto CNN or some other news media outlet?

    Many breaking news stories, played over and over again, merely create fear in the public. Ultimately, making the public believe that terrible incidents and issues occur more frequently than they truly do. Additionally, they create an atmosphere where Americans receive a trial by breaking news media, rather than a fair trial in the United States court system.

    If an individual wants to fix issues that could potentially have a significant impact on the future of this nation, one should begin by looking within their community. Oregon law enforcement does a pretty good job, and those residing in this state should take notice of this. Sure, improvements could, and should, be made; there is always room for improvement. However, to merely generalize, and blame all law enforcement for the issues which may occur, is a major mistake. Moreover, to compare these police shootings to what happened with Emmett Till, is an exaggeration.

    Not to be construed as an excuse for every police shooting, but police have a difficult job. They work everyday in a stressful environment where seconds mean the difference between going home to their families, and not. To say that cosmetology school takes longer than the police academy is another exaggeration. Law enforcement training does not end after the academy. First of all, there is a yearlong probation period – sometimes longer depending on agency- where there is extensive training. Second, police training never ends.

    In conclusion, it would be wise for Americans to recognize that the issues on race the nation currently faces are nowhere as extreme as what it used to be. This is no excuse to quit working on improving such issues further, but Americans should also work toward not jumping to conclusions so quickly. Slow down, examine the community which surrounds you, and allow the justice system to work the way it is supposed to work.

    Amantha, while reading this article, it was interesting to read it from your perspective. Especially knowing that your grandfather was a police officer for many years, and your mother and brother currently work as deputies for a county jail. Do your grandfather, mother, and brother have similar perspectives on these issues? Also, knowing that you are biracial, were there different approaches that your parents took in speaking to you about how to correctly cooperate with law enforcement since your father is African American and your mother is Caucasian? Please reply. Thank you!

    Harry Meanwell

    [Reply]

    Amantha Hood Reply:

    Dear Harry Meanwell,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my article.

    I agree with your point that media controls a lot of the people’s perceptions through agenda setting theory. Although, I believe there is often truth to a lot of the stories that we see hit mainstream. I also believe there are many infractions with police and minority that do not get covered on the news.

    I am very aware that discrimination, isms, and other social issues have greatly improved in society. Although, I do not believe society is at the point that we should stop uncovering the truth. I do not believe anywhere in my article I generalized all law enforcement. Being that you “know” my background, you might understand why I would not generalize all law enforcement and in fact, have an appreciation for some law enforcement. Although, me being biracial, and with family in law enforcement, has not stopped me from being racially profiled in encounters with local officers both in McMinnville and in Portland. Having family in law enforcement has even given me a perspective to notice these situations quickly and respond in such manners to strategically use my words to dismiss myself from these encounters.

    I was taught simple things such as “keeping my hands on the wheel until the officer advises me not to” and to “listen and communicate respectfully.” Although, I’m mixed, I’ve learned that society does not see me as “mixed.” In fact, many people are surprised I’m biracial when I do tell them. To answer your question, yes I was taught how to cooperate with law enforcement. I even remember role play situations with my mom and dad constantly explaining how to go about these situations if it’s me in the driver’s seat with red and blue lights on behind me. Thankfully, my parents taught me these kinds of real-life situations as a minority woman because not every cop is going to be as socially savvy as the law enforcement I’ve closely been raised by. Not everyone has this practice. Not everyone is going to have patience, especially when they’re being pulled over for something like “checking to see if they have a warrant,” which has happened to me.

    I also do not believe the Emmett Till situation is an exaggeration, because I believe there are still murders of African American men and women today where the murderer is not convicted or held accountable due to the their status.

    I also understand that minorities are not the only people who have troubling infractions with law enforcement. I promote and hope to one day impact the idea of increasing law enforcement training and intelligence when it comes to situations with mentally ill people as well as minorities. I believe many people, not just law enforcement, subconsciously discriminate people, especially people of communities they’re unfamiliar with. I personally feel there are three communities of people that are often mistreated and lack voice when it comes to their experiences with law enforcement: the homeless, the mentally ill and minority.

    Here’s an interesting article you might look into also: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/02/23/theres-a-disturbing-truth-to-john-legends-oscar-statement-about-prisons-and-slavery/?utm_term=.7cc69d9a8337

    Thank you for your time,
    Amantha

    [Reply]

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O Say, Can you see, the Racism in this Coun-t-ry.