Martin Luther King Jr once said, “I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.” He was a great man that worked tremendously to bring greater equality to America and ensure civil rights for all people. He wasn’t afraid to speak the truth, advocate for those who couldn’t, and truly believed in the ability of humankind to live in peace. Point being, society has not acknowledged or held on King’s dream of ensuring civil rights for all people regardless of race. 

Every time a white police officer sees a black man, they feel the tendency to shoot and kill, not to disarm.  Police brutality has become such a big issue in America as more and more people are being killed for merely being the race they are. According to Buzzfeed reporter Nashrulla, most people have heard about the Botham Jean Murder Verdict case that took the life of an innocent man. Not because he was violent, not because he was armed, and not because he was guilty, but because he was black. That alone shows how much Americans have devalued human lives. To take it a step further, “Black males aged 15-34 were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by law enforcement officers last year, according to data collected for The Counted”. When most black people are killed, the news doesn’t show the human being behind the act, but instead, includes whether or not they had a criminal background. 

Americans tend to see things like this occur on the news and see it as another black and white picture of a black man getting shot as if that’s what is expected. On the other hand, if it was the other way around, it would’ve been seen as something more devastating and tragic because it’s not as expected. When one happens, Americans become more and more complacent about the situations because they know another one is going to happen. In the book Dear Martin by Nic Stone, Justyce said, ” ‘yeah, there are no more colored water fountains, and it’s supposed to be illegal to discriminate, but if I can be forced to sit on the concrete in too-tight cuffs when I’ve done nothing wrong, it’s clear there’s an issue'” (Stone, 12). Justyce, the main character in the book, writes to Martin Luther King about what happened to him when he was trying to help his white friend when she was drunk. As he was walking, the police saw him as threatening because he was wearing a hoodie and brutally handcuffed him and shoved him against his car without question. How can African Americans show that they are defenseless if police officers are already threatened by the color of their skin? 

Why can’t the same compassion that’s given to a white person be given to a black person despite what happens to them? Americans need to understand the compassion in each of the police brutality and acknowledge that that could’ve have been them instead of seeing as “another story.” The conversation has to stem in America because even though it’s uncomfortable to talk about, Martin Luther King didn’t just die so that we could repeat another form of racial inequality in this country. King said he dreams of a day that “little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.” However, it seems at the moment that white police officers value the use of their unnecessary arm gun more than the life of a black person. As Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Unfortunately, that dream doesn’t seem so real at this moment in time.

Some Americans  may argue that police brutality isn’t something that needs to be talked about because police officers are just doing their job and protecting themselves, however little do they know the effects it takes on a person for losing each individual and nor can they understand the importance of not being afraid of walking or running outside because of the fear of being shot.

In conclusion, being a true American in America is being able to acknowledge the differences that you have but also work to better the nation, not only for the country, but for every individual living in it like Martin Luther King did. The second amendment, known as the right to bear arms, was put in place to protect us, but it seems we are protecting the second amendment more than human life itself. We as Americans have to find a way to protect human lives but at the same time, not neglect our second amendment because if we don’t, this country will eventually crumble to pieces, and there will be nothing left to look at the great country that we once knew as America.

Works Cited

Nashrulla, Tasneem. “An Ex-Dallas Cop Is Guilty Of Murder For Fatally Shooting Her Unarmed Neighbor In His Own Apartment.” BuzzFeed News, BuzzFeed News, 1 Oct. 2019, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tasneemnashrulla/amber-guyger-verdict-botham-jean-murder-trial.

STONE, NIC. DEAR MARTIN. CROWN, 2019.

Swaine, Jon, and Ciara McCarthy. “Young Black Men Again Faced Highest Rate of US Police Killings in 2016.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 8 Jan. 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/08/the-counted-police-killings-2016-young-black-men.

Image: https://antidotezine.com/2016/11/19/racist-common-sense/

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Martin Luther King’s Dream by Beverly is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

1 Comment
  1. Angela 4 weeks ago

    Hi Beverly,

    I think your outlook on police brutality against African Americans is enlightening. As you said, a lot of people have heard about situations where someone was shot just because of their race, but they don’t think about the reasoning behind what causes police to pull the trigger. Is it due to their race or did they do or say something that the police felt threatened by? And yes, while I agree with you on the idea that American is not living up to its standards of equality as introduced by founding documents including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of America, it could also be that the law enforcement officers are frightened because they feel threatened. I don’t think it’s a reasonable excuse to say that they pulled the triggered on someone (that’s not white) because they felt “threatened”. These stereotypes of people of different color and race are one of the factors that contribute to the police brutality. I think you did a great job of introducing and explaining this topic, and I would love to hear about your perspective on the other side of the argument. I found two articles and thought that it might be interesting for you to read 🙂

    https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/12/cover-policing
    https://theundefeated.com/features/a-black-police-officers-perspective/

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