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Being Black in America is Tough

NBA superstar, LeBron James once stated, “Being Black in America is tough”. Currently, his words not only seem true, but they also expose a longstanding challenge African American men experience in the United States. This deep-rooted challenge suggests that when Black males try to reach their full potential their opportunity is cut short by law enforcement, the prison system, or the education system.

Recently, Stephon Clark became one of the latest victims to have his life cut short. Clark was a Black male that died in the backyard of his grandmother’s house because he “fit the description” and had a cell phone in his hand when confronted by Sacramento police. Instead of this man spending quality time with his family, he was shot and killed by multiple shots from officers.

Why does this mistreatment continue to happen? Is it because “officers are scared for the lives” or are they untrained to excel in their profession? What happen to sending a warning shot? In other words, why do officers empty their gun clips when a Black person is not shooting at them?

Regardless of the answer, there is something really wrong. If police officers are supposed to protect and serve, then why does it seem as if police officers are playing duck hunt on African Americans (particularly Black males). Because this is such a reoccurring theme, I am compelled to point out that officers should not be on the force if they are scared of Black people. To put it another way, if officers are not able to approach Black people without drawing their weapons then they don’t need to talk to us. Simply said, if officers are scared then they need to get off the force and get a dog because their behavior is destroying Black families.

All things considered, Black men must play it safe when in contact with law enforcement officers. The only time they should argue or give an opinion is in the courtroom. Remember, “you have the right to remain silent.” Sadly, even then the odds of receiving justice is slim. According to Martin Luther King Jr., such injustice happens because Black people are smothered in an airtight cage or poverty in the midst of an affluent society. W.E.B. Dubois highlighted that the racial equality Black people face has created a distinct status of inferiority and disfranchises Black people.

So, what can we do? The answer is simply. We must continue to strive for achieving Black excellence. We must acknowledge that America was established without Black people in mind. Therefore, we must recognize that America’s policies are designed against us. With this in mind, the position of African Americans will not change unless we create our own, support our own, and continue to educate our own.

History has shown us that the only way change can happen is if we become the change we want to see. For instance, if we want to change the law enforcement system, we need to become policy makers which means we have to become lawyers and politicians. If we want to change the prison system, we must become wardens, governors, and senators. If we want to change the education system, we must become technology leaders, top educators, and decision makers.

In order to create such a change it cannot just be a few of us that breakthrough the cracks. Instead, it requires millions of us to achieve despite the intentional systematic challenges (better known as racism).

Given these points it is my hope that you are able to understand that America has placed hurdles to trip Black people up in life. However, we must train ourselves, and then become hurdle leapers. If we don't, sooner or later we won’t even be able to say being Black in America is tough because we will not exist.

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