Recent racially-charged events have elicited varied responses from calls for neutrality, to apathy, anger, disappointment, helplessness, and determination to make change. The grand jury proceedings resulting from the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York have caused great unrest across our country. In both cases, a white police officer killed a black man while on duty; both officers were not charged.
Many protesters took to the streets in response to what they saw as ongoing racism. How can we be united as a country when black citizens live in fear of their own police officers?
No members of The Scroll Board were present during the Michael Brown or Eric Garner shootings. Biases in the media make it difficult to know exactly what happened in each situation, though some video exists. As high school students, we are not taught the finer points of law. Therefore, we cannot judge whether these specific proceedings were just or not.
But The Scroll Board feels these incidents are significant because of the much larger issue for which they stand. Racial prejudice in America is undeniably ongoing and undeniably unjust. These tragic situations have raised national discussion on how discrimination can be stopped. Our hope is that these discussions lead to action.
Unfortunately, we have all been born during a time when prejudice can hurt every individual. Although one might feel removed from the recent problems and may choose to ignore them, he or she will constantly see, hear and face oppression in different ways. We all have faced some form of prejudice, no matter our race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or other differences. Let us not fight each other, but let us unite and combat oppression itself. These events have raised awareness of the gravity of oppression in our country, and it will not stop unless we discuss thoughtfully and begin to take action. If we do not try to unite and battle the bigger issue, oppression will not go away. Let’s talk to each other, and learn to understand everyone better – as equals-so we can make our world feel safer, and more welcoming, for all people.