I’m making the conscious decision to set forward my thoughts and recall what it is exactly that I’m feeling. It’s going to be a difficult to relate what I have to say into cohesive sentences and flowing thoughts but I can only do my best. It seems as if the recent occurrences I’ve been reading about, watching on the news or seeing through social media sources keeps suggesting the fact that the world we live in is caught up in the wrong frame of thought and action.
Recently, I have been reading articles and news coverage on attacks on the youth in ways that disgust me as much as they dishearten me. I watched a video of a 16 year old in Californian being man-handled by a cop for jaywalking. JAYWALKING. Yes, the simple offence we can all admit to have committed at least once. I watched the video, sick to my stomach, as the officer hit the kid with baton in the face and got back up to help slam the 16 year old to ground. All the while, spectators are begging the officer to stop and reminding him that he’s just a child. Imagine if that was your child, brother, friend, classmate? I don’t even know the kid but I couldn’t handle the anger I felt. And mind you, this kid didn’t fight back nor was he harassing the officer. It’s just another example of police brutality on the youth. Oh yeah, he was a black kid. As if that validates the fact that it happened but it does go to show how true and pure the call of movements that highlight the issue of race and how much they matter.
But don’t let one example convince you that there is a real issue going on in America that a lot of people are ignoring or are being distracted from. I recently watched an interview about a 21 year old and his experience of being wrongfully incarcerated. When he was 16, an officer who claimed someone had accused him of robbing stopped him. He was searched and they found nothing. Yet, he still went to jail at the age of 16, with absolutely no trial. This kid missed his sophomore and senior year in high school, he missed his graduation all because he wouldn’t confess to a crime he says he didn’t commit. Again, with no actual trial or court date given to him. He recalls that he spent his time in jail beaten often by the officers and spent 900 days in solitary confinement. 900 days. A teenager. He recalls that it got to a point that he had to talk to himself because there was no one else there. He committed suicide at 22.
More so to the fact, a child just died in a Miami juvenile center because other children beat him to death bribed by the guards for a Honey Bun. The price of his life was equivocated to a $0.50 honey bun. And this case isn’t the only incident and it’s disheartening and frustrating to see young kids given no value to their lives. All due to the fact that you have the ones in power and in control taking advantage of their positions.
What bothers me the most is that this is our youth, the next generation and the people who we want to lead in this world and take care of the rest of the previous generations. But how can we equip them into this role if we’re stunting their growth by snatching away their youth? I would love to say it has nothing to do with race or status or class but it has any and everything to do with just that. The world isn’t black and white but the American system tries to simplify it to just that. For the sake of metaphoric example, we can say that the ‘white’ is the affluent and in control and the ‘black’ is everyone else. The system tries to belittle our capacity as human beings much evolved from thousands of years ago into something classified as ‘other’ and ‘not important’ if it’s not the norm. And let’s be real; ‘white’ is the norm. This argument and realization goes for all entities that are not in control as well – no matter their race or creed.
If it’s not clear yet, this is not a post to bash the police and defend only the black youth, as I understand the world isn’t merely black and white. But it seems to suggest just that because of the constant trends that we keep seeing, we keep going through and we keep ignoring because what better way to justify society and it’s action than to simplify it? What I mean is that we, as a society, are so focused on the superficial, this instant, the new, that we forget life itself. We forget what it truly means to be alive, to be conscious, to think and to be aware of our surroundings. We should be trying to empower each other, equally, in order to better secure the future for everyone. But we can’t do that if we’re caught up in the mindset of ‘it has nothing to do with me, it’s not my problem.’ The mentality of being busy and ignoring the real world by being immersed in material possessions, gadgets, technology and social media are the definition of gluttony and are the result of a capitalistic environment. Whether or not you care about what’s going on it’s still your problem because it’s happening. Right in front of you, next to and all around you. Whether you’re American or not, the issue becomes more widespread when it goes unnoticed or not remedied.
The point is that our generation, the new generation has a responsibility to act against these injustices when we see them or when we become aware of them. And an act doesn’t have to be violent by any means. In fact, the opposite is much more effective. It then becomes our duty to empower the youth, enable them to have a voice and when they cannot then we step in. It’s simple. If we want to have a functioning nation, we need to make sure all parts work – small, big, and seemingly irrelevant or even the parts that are chaotic.