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Last updateWed, 14 Apr 2021 11am

Opinion

This America is Not My America

America 1This America is not the America I understood it to be when I was a little girl. Like most kids, I lived with the false reality that everything was perfect and everyone was equal. I never thought to treat someone who didn’t look like me differently, but as I got older I realized that to a lot of people, the color of your skin matters.

What happened to George Floyd is wrong. What happened and continues to happen to people of color is unfathomable. People have become targets because of how they appear and it is not okay.

George Floyd was murdered —plain and simple. A white officer who had many complaints in his jacket decided to use excessive force with a man, resulting in this man’s death. A Black woman named Breonna Taylor was shot because the police entered the wrong home. The New York Times reported that the police entered her home looking for drugs and a man she no longer had a connection to.  The Washington Post informed us of six Asian women who were murdered because a man was “having a bad day.”

These are not the only incidents of racial violence. Looking at any news station today, you can see just how messed up some people are. All news outlets display the racial discrepancies this country faces and it is us who can change that. We need to make it so there is no fights or shootings or violence of race to be shown on the news.

We have to acknowledge what is happening in the world around us. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Well guess what, ladies and gentlemen—we have a problem and we need to work to solve it.

When George Floyd was murdered, it created an uproar. People started protesting and the world was thrown into chaos. Many people questioned whether or not to “back the blue” and for some, this question weighed heavily. I was one of those people.America 2

I come from a family of first responders. From police officers to firefighters to paramedics, they are all in my family. But I also have friends of color. I have seen my friends looked at like criminals just for entering a store.

I want justice. That doesn’t mean I don’t support the police or that I don’t support people of color, but I think light needs to be shed on what is going on. I do not agree with what is going on. I wish we lived in a world where everyone was equal and this violence wasn’t a thing, but it is, and we need to call attention to it.

Some people forget that not all officers are white and not every white officer is bad. Yes, some officers hide behind the badge because they think it gives them power to do as they please. They think that having a badge justifies their actions. The people who do that are cowards, and they do not represent all police officers.

Where I am from, many of our officers are Black or Hispanic. Our officers engage with the community all the time. When this god-awful pandemic hit, Hoboken police officers started a story time.

A family could log onto Facebook where they would find a video of a different officer every night reading a story. Not all police officers are bad, but the ones who use the badge for power should be forced to leave the force.

It is hard to take sides with everything going on around us. The good news is you don’t have to. You can recognize the bad while celebrating the good.

My oldest niece, 10 years old, heard her friend being told it wasn’t fair she was playing basketball because Black people are better. Her mother had to explain how some people are racist and what it means to be racist. I dread the day I have to explain to my kids about race and how different people have different views. I pray that the world will change before I have to do that because my heart breaks just thinking about it

The America we all occupy right now is not a world I want to continue living in. It is not a world for which I want to raise my children. When I was little, I always imagined a world where everyone was equal, where people would be holding hands and singing songs of peace.  I never thought I would witness people being attacked for what they look like. It’s sad that we have to explain to children of color how to react to police just in case they are approached by someone who is afraid of someone who doesn’t look like them. It’s sad that we have to tell children that it’s not all a circle and not everyone is a friend.

I dream that one day we will live in a world where this issue is one of the past. I hope that this change comes sooner rather than later. One day I want to be able to say this is the America I always dreamed of living in. An America without racial violence is the America I want not only for myself but for the generations to come, and I hope one day we can achieve this.

 

PHOTO TAKEN by Shannon McGorty

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