Considering the Fact II

Staff Writer: Alexandria Weaver

America’s timeline is filled with hatred and racism and making statements such as “Make America Great Again” does nothing but prove that the hatred is still there. Can America finally be made great? Perhaps, but it requires addressing and rectifying the deafening silent problems that still go on on a daily basis.

The video that set Los Angeles in flames: on the night of March 3, 1991, Rodney King was pulled over for speeding. He had been drinking earlier that night but due to his “spaced-out” look, Sergeant Stacey Koon suspected King was on PCP. Police believed that the drug made individuals oblivious to pain and gave them almost superhuman strength. Sergeant Koon was even more convinced when King managed to raise to his feet after being hit twice with by a taser.

Rodney King beating

Video of Rodney King being beat by police officers in 1991. Photo Courtesy: famous-trials.com

Disturbed from his sleep, George Holliday went to his terrace to record the events that were taking place only 90 feet away. According to famous-trials.com, before King is finally handcuffed about a minute-and-a-half later, Holliday’s camera records Officers Laurence Powell and Timothy Wind inflicting over fifty baton blows and several kicks. It also records Officer Briseno stomping on King’s shoulder, causing his head to hit hard against the asphalt. One or more of the baton blows seem to land, contrary to LAPD policy, on King’s head. The violence is too far from Holliday’s bedroom to pick up the sound of King as he finally says, “Please stop.”

Unfortunately, cases like these are not rare; cases where officers use an exceeding amount of force to detain unarmed individuals. What is worse are the cases where the individuals are killed in the process and those officers are suspended with pay and not charged with murder or even aggravated assault.

On the evening of Feb. 26, 2012 community neighborhood watch guard, George Zimmerman, was watching Trayvon Martin (17) from his SUV and called the police department to report a “suspicious guy.”  The police advised Zimmerman to keep watch from his vehicle, however, he disregarded the instructions and pursued Martin.

From Aug 2011-Feb 2012, Zimmerman had a habit of reporting suspicious individuals all of which were black males.

Trayvon was on the phone with his girlfriend having just left the 7-11 and had purchased an Arizona Iced Tea and Skittles. Feeling as though he was being followed, he began to run.

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin was an unarmed American 17-year-old killed by George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012, sparking national controversy. Photo Courtesy: biography.com

As stated on Biography.com, Martin and Zimmerman, whom it is believed never identified himself as part of a community watch, encountered each other in circumstances that have remained mysterious and conflicted, with someone calling out for help multiple times in a short time span. The confrontation ended with Zimmerman shooting the unarmed teenager in the chest. Martin died less than a hundred yards from the door of the townhouse in which he was staying.

On July 13, the six-member female jury acquitted George Zimmerman of murder, leading to protests including the renowned Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter is a peaceful protesting organization that is trying to fight racial discrepancies in this country. The message is not that only black lives matter but that black lives matter as well. Looking around the nation it appears that their lives do not. The protest is a way to stand up for every African American boy and girl, man and woman, and tell the world they are significant in every way. 

Black Lives Matter Demonstrator

Staring into the face of adversity, she stands there rooted in fearlessness. Photo Courtesy: The Economist

Why protests like these are frowned upon is unnerving. For instance, Colin Kaepernick and his kneeling during the anthem to protest police brutality after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

More information available about Kapernick’s cause: https://whspawprint.com/2018/08/30/even-players-have-basic-rights/

The ridicule this NFL quarterback received was so intense it caused him to not be able to get signed to a team. However, former quarterback of the Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow, was praised for kneeling before games and doing so was named “Tebow-ing.”

Kaepernick vs. Tebow

“Tebowing” was copied by kids who played sports as a way to celebrate a score and yet Kaepernick was labeled a “disgrace” and anyone who followed his lead was threatened with fines.

Why then was it an issue when Kaepernick took a knee for his cause? Why when Nike endorsed him did people burned Nike products they already bought? Was it because of the color of his skin, the fullness of his hair, the cause he was fighting for or was it the combination of those things?

This is the type of discrimination, and much worse, that happens every minute of every day. It is why people can say America isn’t great. Some of the people in it do not execute principles of equality or even greatness.

There have been 79 mass shootings, eight of which were on school and college campuses, since 2000, and unfortunately, they seem to be more and more frequent. In the past week some of the relatives and survivors of the Parkland High School shooting have committed suicide.

Sites of mass of shootings

Mass shooting across the States. Photo Courtesy: Mother Jones

More information available: https://whspawprint.com/2018/11/29/the-ghosts-of-terrorism/

How do you tell their family that the country they live in is great?

Despite the number of shootings and accidents of babies and children killing themselves with guns left unattended, not enough has been done about the owning and selling of firearms.

Across the globe in New Zealand, after Christchurch mosque mass shooting (50 fatalities and 50 injuries) on March 15, Prime Minister Ardern has banned all assault rifles. She spoke with sympathy and refused to speak the terrorist name for “[he] sought many things from his act of terror but one was notoriety. That is why you will never hear me speak his name.” P.M. Ardern pleads with the media to speak the victims’ names instead.

How great is this country if its leader is who inspired the terrorist in New Zealand? Is this the “greatness” that we wish to portray to the world?

In a span of four years, the federal government has received more than 4,500 complaints regarding sexual abuse of immigrant children at the government-funded detention facilities. There was an increase in complaints after Trump’s administration policy to separate migrant families.

Cruelity at the border

Children, separated from their families, have been put in cages and sexually abused. Photo Courtesy: CNN.com

According to the New York Times, “The records, which involve children who had entered the country alone or had been separated from their parents, detailed allegations that adult staff members had harassed and assaulted children, including fondling and kissing minors, watching them as they showered, and raping them.”

Is this the “greatness” people are to be greeted with when they wish to become citizens of this country?

Even statistically America isn’t the greatest country. Currently it’s ranked number eight behind Switzerland, Japan, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, and Australia respectively. The United States is #30 in adventure, #22 in heritage, and #17 in quality of life.

The quality of life has a score of 5.3/10. While it is economically stable and has a good job market, America is not affordable (0.5/10), safe (1.7/10) family friendly (5.2/10) and doesn’t have a well-developed public health system (4.1/10) or income equality (1.1/10).

It is no doubt that America isn’t a bad country. There are many countries that have it worse as it relates to rights and even wealth. But better than bad doesn’t make this country GREAT.

America is definitely great for some, so to those people it is almost blasphemous to “complain” about this country.

The Great Divide

A house divided cannot stand. Photo Courtesy: New York Post

Equality is a false hope for minorities. Many want to deny the fact that white privilege exists, yet none of them are willing to switch places with the average minority. Why not? Is it because they know that if they admit their privilege exists, they will have to level the playing field? And that’s not a power they are willing to give up.

Until the privileged have experienced the prejudice, racism, stereotyping, unnecessary checks from everybody from cashiers to police, unequal pay, or anything else minorities go through, they cannot deny its existence or belittle the people who want something done about it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: