I won’t be another hashtag


 


racism
ILLUSTRATION BY SAVANNAH DONALD/STAFF ILLUSTRATOR


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Jordan Smith
Opinion Columnist
smithj@uab.edu


When I was 19, I was pulled over by the Hoover police at 9 p.m. I was scared not because I might get a ticket, but because I might become the next hashtag. As he approached, I followed my dad’s protocol. I rolled my windows down slowly, put my hands on the wheel, and didn’t move. The safety of my baby brother who was in the back seat was piercing through my mind.  

This is not me being paranoid. Fear of police is an unspoken rule in Black America.

Time and time again, my brothers and sisters are insensibly killed just for being black.  Police have been executing young black men who “fit” a certain profile. Willie McCoy was recently fatally shot on February 9. while napping in his car in front of Taco Bell.  He was killed because police expressed “fear of their own safety” because an alleged handgun in his lap, while he was clearly asleep in his car according to NBC News. Willie McCoy died that day just because he was black. That was it. He was black.  

We have accepted a legal system that has branded blacks as felons. It is time to stop denying blacks basic rights and opportunities that would allow black people to become the admired law-abiding citizen.  

Liberty cannot exist for blacks in a country where ancestors of African descent were held bondage and today’s blacks are held to chains of statistics. We have spent years allowing these practices of racial profiling, police brutality, and systematic racism.  

Slave mentality is a rooted cultural assumption that black people are inferior to white people.  It is time to rid the slave mentality of using racially coded practices because of the threat of black people surpassing white people. Black America cannot exist in a country that has roots of discrimination, where blacks political voices are diminishing, when there are no economic opportunities unless you work harder than your counterpart.

Black America cannot exist where accommodations are not open to those who cannot afford them.  Black America only exist as a stagnant state where whites have normalized these problems and blacks have done nothing about it.  

We must work toward equality, awaken our criminal justice system, prohibit discrimination, and clear the mentality of white hierarchy. Bold action is required. America can no longer disregard the rights of African Americans. 
 

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