BLACK LIVES MATTER

As I sat down making a decision about what to write about this week it dawned on me that each week 2 black men are being gunned down for no apparent reason in America. Kolin Kappernack has taken a approach that many people have scrutinized and many feel he is acting UNAmerican when he decided to socially express himself by kneeling durning the national anthemn. According to a Guardian study young black men are nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015 and despite making up only 2% of the total US population, African American males between the ages of 15 and 34 comprised more than 15% of all deaths logged in 2015 by an ongoing investigation into the use of deadly force by police. Their rate of police-involved deaths was five times higher than for white men of the same age.

Some may question my reasons for publishing on #blacklivesmatter but I think it is important for us as a society to continue to spread social awareness about this issue because of the death of unarmed black males is getting out of hand. Again based on the findings from Mapping Police Violence only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by the police resulted in officers being charged with crime, and only 2 of these deaths resulted in convictions of officers involved. Pause and marinate on those facts and tell me how any reasonable person would think this isn't a problem. From my perspective it is justifiable for an overwhelming large number of officers to provoke young black men because of the many stereo types such as being violent, lazy, uneducated, sexual and ghetto . However, lets look at the bigger picture. Subconsciously living in the "less affluent" areas all over America minorities have become victims of harassment due to the state of their environment. One of the first things you notice on the "other side of town" is trash permeating throughout the neighborhoods, liquor stores on every corner, old dilapidated buildings,unmanacurred buildings, poor landscaping, unhealthy restaurants, non branded grocery stores, grafiti on the walls, and police patrolling every other block. In most impoverished areas across America minorities are living in dire straits and to add insult to injury are socially framed to be projected as being armed, dangerous and ignorant. Tamir Rice was 12 years old when he was murdered by 2 Cleveland police officers after his toy gun was mistaken for a real weapon. What has the world come to? I am bemused that I am having adult conversations with my 9 and 10 year olds to educate them on the protocols of what to do in the event the are instructed to do something by the police. The scary part is, their are no real instructions that I can give them outside of being respectful and keeping their hands above their heads. 

My attentions are not to beat a dead horse on this subject but to shed light on my perspective. Furthermore, I am more of a results driven type of person and think it is important for us to provide solutions to combating these issues in America. We need our community leaders to work with the local police departments to formulate a system that will hold police officers to the same level of accountability as any law abiding citizen. We need our influencers, entertainers, and athletes to be more active in the communities and work in unison with the judicial department to ignite social change. Dr. Martin Luther King said it quite elegantly " if you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." I am positive that we can and will move past these killings of unarmed black men and sometime in the future we will all be considered as true equals. 

Dwight Phillips