This has been a very eye-opening year when it comes to seeing just how differently Black and White people are treated. Police brutality and racism are nothing new, but recent times have brought far more attention to them. The protests in Kenosha, WI and their aftermath are a prime example of how differently you get treated based on the color of your skin.
Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old father from Evanston, was shot in the back several times by Kenosha police after attempting to break up a fight. He was unarmed and wasn’t resisting police in any way. This shooting caused Blake to be paralyzed from the waist down. Police even went as far as handcuffing Blake to his hospital bed. Where exactly could he have gone considering he had no movement in his legs?
During protests and riots following the shooting of Blake, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch, IL, shot three people, killing two of them. He wasn’t shot at by police. He wasn’t pinned to the ground with a knee in his neck. No one broke into his home in the middle of the night shooting. He got to walk away from the situation without a scratch. What do you think was the difference in these two incidents?
According to Fox, Rittenhouse’s lawyer, defense attorney John Pierce, said that, “Kyle did nothing wrong. He exercised his God-given, Constitutional, common law and statutory law right to self-defense.” Self defense against who? What exactly was he defending himself from? By this same logic, Black people should have the same “God-given, Constitutional, common law and statutory right to self-defense” and to live in the world without constantly having a target on their back, but that doesn’t seem to be the way that life goes for us. At this point, the mistreatment is intentional but it seems like barely anyone outside of the Black community wants to call the police out on it.
I would like to know what would’ve happened if an underaged Black person crossed state lines and walked down the street with an assault rifle. I can guarantee you that the outcome would be on the opposite end of the spectrum. “Letting the guy walk around with the weapon was the first mistake,” says Robert Harvey III, a freshman at UIC. There’s no reason for this situation to have played out the way that it did.
Trump Jr. commented on the situation saying, “I don’t want young kids running around the streets with AR-15s… Maybe I wouldn’t have put myself in that situation—who knows…? We all do stupid things at 17,” according to The Grio. When I was 17, I wasn’t walking around with assault rifles shooting and killing strangers, or anyone for that matter. I was going to school and thinking about how I would get out of doing homework or a test or trying to figure out when I could go out with friends. I don’t think what Rittenhouse did should be under the category of “stupid things” 17-year-olds do.
Moral of the story, I’m sick of the double standards between White people and the Black community. No one in the Black community wants to be superior. We just want to be equal and be treated fair. This one way street when it comes to things is severely hindering our progress and more people need to speak up, step in, and do their part to give the Black community the equal and fair treatment that we deserve.
By Cierra Lemott, Freshman, Columbia College Chicago
Instagram & Snapchat: @cece.kodak