Author: Tanvi Varma
In 1865, when the words “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime … shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction,” were constructed as the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Black people were grateful for their newfound freedom. In their minds, they had attained equality and would no longer have to suffer unnecessary racial injustice. However, while the 13th Amendment is a part of the Constitution, the words unfortunately do not seem to hold up to their meaning.
A recent New York Times article focused on the difficulties that Black people face living in our society. Despite the fact that history claims that racial equality exists, Black children cannot live a life without worry. They are still not “allowed to be children” because they always fear for their safety. Childhood is supposed to be a period when individuals can be carefree. However, Black children are stripped of that right since they always have to worry about the fact that they are not “allowed to be safe,” in either the home environment or the confines of their car. For Black people, “to exist” means “to be endangered. [Their] bodies receive no sanctity or safe harbor.”
The crystal clear discriminatory barriers are displayed in even the most modern forms of history. In the Scott Zimmerman case, a man participating in the neighborhood watch program shot Trayvon Martin, a Black adolescent. This was the violent response to an altercation in which Trayvon Martin was unarmed. It brings to question the fact that this could be a crime of racial discrimination. Trayvon Martin was unarmed, so why did the police officer feel threatened enough to find it necessary to pull out a gun?
Furthermore, a new incident to a similar extent has surfaced. Monday, in Columbia, South Carolina, Ben Fields, a sheriff’s deputy, was called to a classroom to “exert control” over an allegedly “disobedient student” (who happened to be a black girl). The key term is “black” because while the victim was black, the instigator was white. Whether the black girl actually did anything is unclear, but such severe action should never be taken. The deputy did not hold back in muscling her “out of her seat and [throwing] her across the room.” The heartbreaking series of events were recorded and posted on social media websites.
These events occurred as a result of the girl’s refusal to hand over her cellphone — an infraction that should never have ended in her being flung. This is a punishment that will never be appropriate for anyone because violence should never be the answer. Behind the color of one’s skin, each and every one of us is the same.
This article has been archived, for more requests please contact us via the support system.