by

June 25, 2022

 

The Name that Changed the World

George Floyd, an innocent Black man, was arrested by Minneapolis police officers this past summer in a way that many would describe as ‘inhumane.’ Officer Derek Chauvin was seen on video pinning Floyd to the ground using his knee against his neck for approximately 8 minutes and 46 seconds, resulting in his death. Many were left wondering why this happened, how this was able to happen, as well as how many other times this type of racial inequality has happened within the police force but has gone unnoticed. This event created havoc and uproar across the nation as well as the rest of the world, resulting in the increase of support among the Black Lives Matter movement, which sheds light on police brutality and racial injustice. 

Police brutality, “a civil rights violation that occurs when a police officer acts with excessive force by using an amount of force with regards to a civilian that is more than necessary,” is at an all time high now more than ever (US Legal Inc.). Since hardly any officers have been held accountable for their actions, the causes for this issue are usually not addressed and very little is done to change the actions of the officers. Racial profiling among the Black and Hispanic communities and the little to no repercussions for the officer’s actions promote police brutality across the nation (The Viorst Law Offices, P.C.). These two causes have a lot to do with people’s personal biases and opinions, which could have possibly stemmed from how they were raised or how they grew up. Studies show that Black people are about three times more likely to be killed by police in comparison to white and Hispanic people, and 1.3 times more likely if they are unarmed, regardless of the crime (Mapping Police Violence). Another main cause of police brutality is the way officers are trained and groomed. In a study done by Zack Beauchamp, he came to the conclusion that “Officers are conditioned to see themselves as constantly in danger and that the only way to guarantee survival is to dominate the citizens they’re supposed to protect” (Beauchamp). This mentality combined with racial stereotypes make officers more prone to violence towards minorities during stressful times. Due to the widespread increase in cruelty among the police force, many people became sick and tired of the little liability and change done to the officers and police departments, resulting in an increase of support for certain movements. 

The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013, but has since gained support due to the recent events this past year. The main mission of this movement is to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes” (Black Lives Matter). Soon after the deaths of George Floyd and others, protests and marches started becoming more prevalent across the country and eventually across the globe. As a result of this, the Democrats in Congress in the United States “proposed legislation to reform American Police,” which, in short, promotes accountability of officers. Numerous states have also banned chokeholds and made it a requirement for all officers to be wearing a body camera while on duty. Various sports teams, brand names, and logos were also changed or removed altogether because of the racist background to which they came from. Protests in the United Kingdom also sparked movement within the country, with numerous statues of slave traders or poeple linked to slavery being taken down. In Europe, various paintings of George Floyd with the words “I can’t breathe” were created to spread even more awareness to the cause (O’Malley). 

The year 2020 has caused a great deal of divisiveness throughout the country, possibly the largest documented instances involving racial injustice in history. As sad as it is to admit, living in America in the past eight months seems to have furthered the stereotype of the “American Dream” as the events that unfolded this past summer and even up until presently, are circumstances that we should be humiliated as a country to be represented by. Many people have used their voices to bring awareness of the tragedies that are sadly, still occurring and how it must be stopped. The countless times things like this have happened and the fact that very little has been done to stop them from occurring again is very saddening. Though we are slowly moving in the right direction to finally end racism and injustice, something that should have never been a thing to begin with, these protests shouldn’t have started because of the death of an innocent Black man. We as a people should always advocate for equal rights for all. We are all human beings and should be treated with the same respect and dignity as everyone else, regardless of skin color, race, religion, or anything else. 

Works Cited

“About.” Black Lives Matter, 16 October 2020, blacklivesmatter.com/about/.

Beauchamp, Zack. “What the Police Really Believe.” Vox, Vox, 7 July 2020, 

www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/7/7/21293259/police-racism-violence-ideology-g

eorge-floyd.

“The 3 Main Causes of Police Brutality Explained.” The Viorst Law Offices, P.C., 13 July 2020, 

www.viorstlaw.com/blog/2020/05/the-3-main-causes-of-police-brutality-explained/.

Mapping Police Violence, mappingpoliceviolence.org/.

O’Malley, Katie. “How Anti-Racism Protests Have Changed The World In Less Than A Month.” 

ELLE, 25 June 2020, 

www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/culture/a32822672/black-lives-matter-protests-achieve

ments-statues-police-reform/.

US Legal Inc. “Find a Legal Form in Minutes.” Police Brutality Law and Legal Definition | 

USLegal, Inc., definitions.uslegal.com/p/police-brutality/.


Segregation

Not too many years ago, America was labeled with signs everywhere stating whether or not Black people were welcome in the area or not. White people segregated the African Americans into their own sections to separate themselves from them. Only was it a few years ago when it was legal to turn someone away from your business due to your skin color. This lead to the Civil Rights Movement in which people fought to be treated equally to whites. They fought for basic human decency that wasnt being given to them due to their tragic past.

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States was a decades-long campaign by African Americans and their like-minded allies to end institutionalized racial discrimination, disenfranchisement, and racial segregation in the United States. The Civil Rights Movement was an era dedicated to activism for equal rights and treatment of African Americans in the United States. During this period, people rallied for social, legal, political, and cultural changes to prohibit discrimination and end segregation.


The Harlem Renaissance

(Since this story doesn’t revolve around one person, I thought I would create the protagonist as a whole. Basically making the “protagonist” all the African Americans involved in this change.)

African Americans are the protagonist in this book, they have a few traits that influence their relationships with others. 

One they are determined. Two, they are Trustworthy. Three, they are daring. 

These traits influence their relationship with others “The Harlem Renaissance was in many ways the result of the Great Migration. Between 1900 and 1930, nearly three million African Americans left the south to seek their fortunes in the North, sending the black population of the North soaring by 400 percent. Although African Americans had been moving north since the time of the Civil War, the largest migration boom occured around World War 1, when nearly half a million rural blacks left the south in search of racial equality and greater economic opportunity.” This shows how African Americans, “adventurous courage” (aka daring) comes into play when they are looking for change/ a difference.    

Later, on page 83, Carl Van Vechten interacts with multiple groups of these Americans, becoming a big associate with the Harlem Renaissance . “MORE THAN ANY OTHER white American Carl Van Vechten became synonymous with the Harlem Renaissance. He was introduced to Harlem in 1924, when he and his wife… accompanied Walter and Gladys White to an NAACP dance at happy Rhone’s Black and White club. Van Vechten’s fascination with black culture grew to such a degree that Time magazine acidly commented ”that he had been playing with the negros lately” …. But even Van Vechten did not believe that his fascination with Harlem would last– Van was wrong, His interest in Harlem would be lasting. Writing and contributing amateur photography for such publications as Vanity fair, he would become one of the most important and influential chronicles of Harlem’s literary and musical talent.” African Americans’ response here deepens a reader’s sense of their trustworthy/charming persona. 

https://www.youthvoices.live/tag/blm-2/