Dear Mr/Mrs. President,
My name is Collyn Richardson. I am a 17-year-old African-American boy from Lansing, Michigan. I want you to notice that hyphen I used to describe my ethnicity, this is something that you should take into account. If you are not caucasian in America, I’m afraid that you’ll be referred to as just a hyphen. There must be action taken to end racial inequality.
I know you have heard there have been multiple cases of police officers killing “black” people. I do realize that not all police officers are bad, however, we need to be able to live comfortably without people having to worry about being killed by police. There is an apparent issue when my parents tell me “sometimes calling the police isn’t the best option, as they might come for you as a target.” Things like my dad telling me to be careful when I got my license because I am “DWB” or driving while black.
As a young African-American male, I can honestly say that I do not feel comfortable if I was to be stopped by a police officer, even for a routine traffic stop. It is also extremely mind-wrecking that every time I drive past someone and they are stopped by a police officer they are Black.
Now there is some statistics that do make me feel a little better but not completely safe. These stats include Independent Journal Review’s 2012 study of people killed during police arrests. 52% of the race that was killed were White.
Police and law enforcement are supposed to make us feel safe and feel comfortable that if something happens that they will be there in a heartbeat to help. Unfortunately, I do not feel that way about police, as many others do not as well.
Dr. Martin Luther King, only wanted peace between the races, as I also share this same vision. However, the fact that one day (at this rate) I will have to explain to my children the same thing my parents told me that “you must do everything that the officer says because I want you to make it home tonight” is a very emotional task.
America is so labeled. Everything has to be labeled and categorized, from sports to hashtags, everything is under some sort of umbrella. I believe that is where the issue begins, I think instead of labeling everything we should return to the vision of freedom, a cultural melting pot, with a thriving economy and a low poverty and unemployment rates.
It has to start with you, you are the most powerful voice that everyone is going to look to when times are tough. Police must be trained differently, and be trained not to fear people. This is the most important reform in racial inequality; this would change the perception of how they are receiving people of different ethnicity and that they aren’t just “a hyphen.” You are the make or break in efforts to return America to freedom. Help us Mr./Mrs. President, we need you the most.
“Black Power Fist Image.” Black Power Fist Image. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.
Hausam, Michael. “Uncomfortable Facts and Statistics That Don’t Fit the Narrative About Racial Violence.” Independent Journal Review. N.p., 23 Sept. 2016. Web. 02 Nov. 2016.