Think before you react

Think before you react

The acquittal of Darren Wilson who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown received coverage that spread nationally. It sparked numerous riots around the U.S. where many African-Americans were outraged by the decision to not punish the officer.

Everyone has heard in the media of African –American people’s lives being taken away due to excessive force by police officers who don’t seem to receive any form of punishment or suspension for their wrongdoings.

As a person of mixed race, I can sympathize with them because I’m part African-American. Also, growing up in Oakland gives me so much insight to how people of other ethnic backgrounds get treated by the police.

According to an article from July 2015 in The Guardian, when adjusted to accurately reflect the US population, the totals indicate that black people are being killed by police at more than twice the rate of white and Hispanic or Latino people. Black people killed by police were also significantly more likely to have been unarmed. Crazy, right?

During the black lives movement, people in Oakland and other inner-cities in the United States with populous communities of black people started protesting, which is fine because I have respect for the people standing up for themselves and the people of their culture. On the other hand, sometimes I wonder if the protesting is worth it, because there are always going to be people who try to disturb the peace.

The one thing I can’t stand to see in the media is riots. I find it stupid that people all over Oakland and other U.S. cities feel the need to express their anger towards the authority of the police by rioting and acting out in a destructive manner.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful when I say that destructive behavior is one of the main causes of why police officers target black people. It’s right here in front of our eyes. Every time that another person of our own ethnicity is shot dead by the police and is not brought to justice, there are protesters and rioters. Have you ever thought that maybe the justice system purposefully lets these white police officers off the hook just to see our own people self-destruct? If anyone else pays attention to the news like I do, you would see that riots always seem to occur after this happens. For example, the shootings of Oscar Grant and Michael Brown provoked riots all over Oakland due to the policemen not being punished for killing unarmed young men.

It’s very appalling to see my own people destroying the communities that we live in and jumping on freeways, and for what? Attention? A call to action? If anything, it’s the opposite of a call to action. Protesting is a call to action, but the act of riots is what will make the police come after people.

If we’re ever going to see a change, we need to start by doing better as people. Instead of acting like animals in the streets, I think black people need to find other ways to express their anger and other strong feelings toward the police in another way other than acting detrimental to our city.

All in all, I have so much love for my own people. I feel for us and think that we’re not treated with the utmost respect, but there are positive ways to make a change to that and to get attention from people who actually care about the issues that affect us.

Update: this article has been replaced with the newest available version. 12:26 p.m. 11/23/2015