Our Threatening Existence

I don’t get it. Every time, it gets more confusing. They’ve gone from pursuing legitimate criminals to manhandling defenseless children. These kids don’t have weapons. These kids aren’t hurting anyone. These kids ARE hurt. Yet by simply existing, they are at risk of being attacked and then being told that they deserve every bit of abuse they’ve received.

I’m not talking about one specific incident, because it happens far too often. But I do have that young girl in a bikini on my mind. I’m thinking about the cop that dragged her to the ground as if she were a full-grown man and pinned her down even though all she could do was lay there and cry. Words were her only weapons; “This is wrong”, for some reason, was as threatening to that cop as if she’d pulled out a knife. Thank goodness she wasn’t carrying a water gun, because who knows what could’ve happened to her. At least she’s alive. Probably scarred, hurt, angry, and afraid, but alive.

I can’t say the same for Tamir Rice. All it took was two seconds for him to be found guilty of being a threat as he played in the park. I can’t say the same for Aiyana Stanley-Jones. She threatened an officer just by sleeping on her couch. Tanisha Anderson? Her greatest crime was having a mental disorder, yet that was enough to condemn her. And I can’t say the same for Trayvon Martin. Who knew hoodies, Skittles, and bottles of iced tea could be so dangerous?

I wonder what it is about us that makes us so threatening. It confuses me when strangers clutch their bags and move as far away from me as possible on the street or on a shuttle, or even as I sit on a bench with a frappuccino. I have done nothing to threaten a stranger, but the color of my skin does more than enough. If anything, shouldn’t I be the frightened one? If I can see in your eyes that you are judging me, or even condemning me for something that I can’t control, don’t I have a right to be scared and clutch my own bag? And if I have that right and I’m STILL not threatened by you, then what’s your excuse?

I wonder what it is about Black people that makes other people try so hard to justify our mistreatment. It blows my mind when I see or hear people aggressively try to defend George Zimmerman, or when they bring up a victim’s criminal record from the 70’s. Yet these same people will try to find any reason to have mercy on a suspect who is a few shades lighter. I don’t care how sweet the serial killer was in elementary school, what their favorite color is, or what shows they watch on Netflix. A serial killer is a serial killer, just as a boy carrying Skittles is a boy carrying Skittles on his way home. I’m tired of the second-guessing and the insinuations. These were not gangs at a restaurant killing each other. These kids are not serial killers. There are kids. So why are we treating them like adult, seasoned criminals?

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