Police officer in Georgia used ''unnecessary force'' when arresting former NFL player Desmond Marrow in 2017. The video of the incident south of Atlanta went viral when it was released last month. Marrow was being stopped for reckless/aggressive driving. Marrow didn't engage in any violent way use a weapon at any time. Before too long the Atlanta officers were pinning him to the ground and choking Marrow until he was unconscious. Marrow yelling "I can't breathe" until his voice faded into silence. The agency said the actions of the other officers involved were "within departmental policy." No weapon was used, Marrow didn't engage violently, yet he is left unconscious with proper force. Police brutality is a topic of debate, this just being one example of a long list of police brutality towards people of color.
A study of 20 million children shows the fragility of the American Dream. Are black boys given equal opportunity in life? Racism is often institutionalized and systematic, meaning it has been in our society for decades and many people do not realize how it is affecting those of color. It is part of our society and normalized. Even if a black boy is raised in a wealthy, rich family, he still has more obstacles statistically than a white boy. Over time, we have seen these statistics dropped, but not dramatically. In 2018, you would think race has no affect on success, but it does so much that even some black boys raised in rich families will end up in middle class and lower class statistically.
Starbucks was facing pressure following the arrest of two men at one of its locations in Philadelphia mid-April of 2018. The arrests of these two men was completely unjust, thus why backlash and protests were so apparent in Philadelphia following the arrest. The two men (who happen to be of color), wanted to use the restroom, but were denied because they never purchased anything. They both sat down waiting for a friend for just five minutes before the manager decided to call the police and arrest the two men. They weren't disturbing anyone or causing any sort of problem at all, so why were they arrested? Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has ordered the city’s Commission on Human Relations to consider whether Starbucks needs “implicit bias training for its employees.” The mayor said Saturday that the incident appears “to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.” (WSJ).
Last year WaPo did a fascinating multimedia series on black men. This is one of the pieces WaPo created to recreate the hardships that black men (and women) have faced years ago. In the right eye of the painting, there are men dressed in KKK uniforms watching a black male being hung in front of a burning cross. In the left eye, there are black men together that have ropes around their necks. In both eyes, you would think that some of these messages are pretty extreme, but this is reality. Years ago, this was normal. Of course it is not normalized in today's society and we have made strides to create a more equal America, but there are still improvements that must be made.
“This is America” by Childish Gambino represents the crazy unjust society that we live in. There are many hidden messages in this video, including gun's in America and chaos being hidden by social media. One hidden message in this video is the treatment of African-Americans. In the 2:25 mark of the video, you can notice a person in all black riding a white horse. This symbolizes death riding the pale white horse while he is followed by hell (represented by police) going totally unnoticed because of dancing and pop culture in the foreground. Another example of Childish Gambino expressing an underlying racism message is the lyrics. Lyrics like "Get your money, Black man" and "Check what I'm whippin' up, This is America, Don't catch you slippin' up" speak directly to the idea that people of color are only rewarded once they play into the system and allow themselves to be exploited. However, if you try to step outside of the roll you are meant to play, you will be punished for it. Childish Gambino created one of the most deep cinematic works that we have ever seen, adding fuel to the fire of equality.
Stephon Clark was a 23 year old unarmed man in his grandmother's backyard when he was shot 20 times, and soon to be dead. Police were responding to reports of a black male breaking into a car and hiding in a backyard. When officers arrived, they saw Clark and he advanced toward them, holding an object in his hand, Initially, police reported that he was armed with a gun, then with a "toolbar," but all that was found on him was a cellphone. The chopper video shows Clark moving toward the officers before the shooting, but it was unclear whether his arms were extended. His death led to a number of police reforms, including the requirement that all patrol officers wear body cameras and receive training in de-escalation (ABC news). The two officers that shot Stephon Clark are now on paid leave, but no charges have been placed against the Sacramento police department. This video clearly displays the blatant racism that occurs even today. Seconds before his death police officers commanded him to put his hands in the air, and before letting him do so, one police officer screams "Gun Gun Gun!". Shortly after a young father and loved brother was dead in his grandmother's backyard. This is not the first case that a black male has died due to police action, this is one of many.