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A white woman holds a #WeCantBreathe sign at a protest against racism and police brutality on Saturday in Berlin. | Maja Hitij/Getty Images
Published 06/09/2020 | Reading Time 5 min 30 sec
By Seth White, Junior Writer and Summer Intern
America is in one of the most ominous places presently. We Black Americans are facing a pandemic and continued police brutality. We protest with thousands of people in a single area at a time, as if we have seemingly forgotten that Covid-19 isn’t still infecting people. But we Black Americans have had enough. We are tired of America sweeping our afflictions caused by centuries of oppression under the rug.
We have fought, struggled, and bleed to be treated equally, and we have yet to arrive at the mountain top — the place Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the promised land. Millions of Black Americans have died just to get a meager portion of what White Americans have.
In America, as a young Black man, I feel as though I automatically have a target on your back every time I leave my home. And for what? Racism? We have done nothing to deserve the type of ill-treatment white Americans have subjected us to.
The crazy thing is: People are just now realizing that White treatment of Black Americans has been unjust because of Covid-19 and George Floyd.
The only reason the majority of Whites have posted on social media and have stood with Blacks recently is because it is becoming a trend, the popular thing to do.
These last couple of months have changed the way people see reality. And that may be a good thing. Without big-name Black celebrities and social media platforms, saturating the airways, most Americans would have remained clueless as to what is actually happening in our society.
Black Americans have been enduring racism for years, but somehow the broader American community has remained clueless — until this point — to the fact that America really isn’t that great for everyone. It is not as jolly as it seems to be.
How is it that people can remain so blind and come to their senses now? The obvious answer is that again this is a trend.
Is this current protesting period in American history a trend for White people? Because if you scroll through Instagram Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, the only thing you’ll see is the romanticization of White Americans’ posts that Black Lives Matter and police brutality or #georgefloyd, coupled with likes and hearts. Likes our pain and suffering is some kind of popularity contest.
Imagine if this trend did not exist, where would we be right now? The truth is we would be in the exact position. For some reason, some police officers find amusement in hearing us say, “I can’t breathe” and then apply more pressure. If this didn’t happen to George Floyd, it would eventually happen to someone else. And I think it will still happen to someone else because America is still racist.
America needed this so-called great awakening.
We are desperate for true leadership, solutions and change. It’s just sad that it took another public killing of someone who could have been my father, my brothers or me for Americans to finally wake up and realize that America isn’t so great for Black people.
What will it take for us to be looked at the same? What will it take for us to get this target off our back? What will it take to finally make progress
in this country? What will it take for us to have peace and not constantly have in our minds that we may die today? What will it take for someone to step up and realize this can’t continue. Tell me, what will it take?
Most people would prefer to skip 2020 and go into 2021, so they can forget how bad this year was. Well, I say, No!
The bandage of racism needed to be ripped off because the wound beneath never healed. Our souls needed to be confronted with the truth. Now our hearts need to be healed and changed forever because racism has no place in America.
The snatching of the bandaid is the only way we can get past our horrible history that lingers in the present so we can begin to come together. That’s when I’ll know this isn’t just a trend for White people.
Sadly, America is still governed by old White people that want to see America stay the same. That’s where we come in, we need to vote and really start to do our jobs so we can make a difference.
Seth White is a Booker T. Washington high school student who has been civically engaged in his community on multiple occasions, including speaking at Tulsa City Council. Seth is an advocate for police reform and equal rights. He plans to pursue a business degree at Oregon State University.