(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Downtown Magnets High School

Opinion: When the color of your skin makes you a target, the system needs change

If segregation ended in 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was passed making it illegal to discriminate, why does it still happen now? Why does racism continue after many have fought for their freedom?

Police brutality, inequality, hate crimes and economic injustice continue to this day over something as simple as the color of your skin and many more opportunities have been stripped away from people of color.

Why does something as simple as your race create a target for you?

The problem doesn’t derive from those who aren’t the “idealistic” looking person, but it derives from those who continue to believe in the stereotypes society has made and refuse to see past their exterior. This has only been encouraged by many with power — so what steps can we make to create a better and safer society?

Police brutality and hate crimes have increased over the years, just last year alone police killed 1,098 people, according to “Mapping Police Violence.”

Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old Black teenage boy walking to his father’s home in a gated neighborhood was shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader in Florida. Zimmerman allegedly felt threatened by a suspicious Black male who was carrying Skittles and an Arizona, according to History.

Aiyana Jones, 7 years old, was shot while sleeping during a police raid by Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley whose gun was “accidentally fired” while filming for a TV show ” The First 48,” according to CBS News.

Jordan Edwards, 15, was shot by an officer with a rifle in the car after leaving a party with a group of friends because the car was going towards the cop, which was a statement said by the cop that was then proved otherwise by the body camera footage, according to CNN News.

The Charleston 9, a bible study group shot at Charleston Emanuel Church by white supremacist Dylann Roof.

Sean Bell and three other unarmed men were shot 50 times by an undercover detective, three plainclothes detectives and one officer, according to the New York Daily News.

Breonna Taylor, 27, was shot by a police officer eight times while sleeping. They were doing a search for a drug dealer who didn’t live in her apartment and was already detained when police officers went to her apartment and shot her, according to USA Today. Her boyfriend was charged for attempt murder of a police officer and assault.

These are just a few cases of hate crimes and police brutality and now it seems as if the police take advantage and do what they can or want instead of protecting us. If these actions were done by non-cops they would be charged and held accountable, but because they have a title and the power they’re able to get away with it.

Police officers should be held accountable just like everyone else.

According to Bloomberg, African Americans in the U.S. are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white people, and the rate is 1.4 more likely for Black women.

Police departments get funded billions of dollars and it increases each year. Many that are protesting are also fighting to defund the police because of the actions they take to unharmed people.

The U.S. spent $100 billion per year on policing and an additional $80 billion on incarceration, according to a 2017 Forbes article.

Although funding police is important for actual crimes, there should be more money toward the community, resource centers and schools. Police officers in California don’t complete the same amount of hours as barbers do. Barbers require 3,200 hours plus another 200 hours to cut hair, according to Barber License, while a police officer needs 1,100 of physical and mental training, according to Rasmussen College.

There are many other resources that need more attention and more funding but also defunding the police doesn’t mean that all money will be taken away automatically. The police department will still be funded because we still need someone around to stop the true crimes that happen. We need people who are willing to help anyone no matter the race or the color of your skin.

Everyone deserves help if they need it and when they need it. Everyone has and deserves their rights but it seems to be as if the police take it away once it comes down to who they’re dealing with.

If they’re dealing with someone cooperating with the officer doing exactly what they say, they still choose to take their life because they feel threatened. Although there’s proof that the officer was in no danger. Why should we continue to encourage those actions by continuing to fund millions of dollars and acting as if it’s part of their job when they’re the ones with power in the end?

Economic injustice is a huge problem that many go through and has been around for many years. However, it is only increasing as the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to widen. We don’t have any idea of how unequal our society has become.

According to a 2018 Pacific Standard article, the median household wealth of white Americans is $171,000 — 10 times more than that of Black Americans.

Many can be denied the help they need, which stops them from making it to where they want to be. There are many kids who graduate and do everything they can to stand out. When will they put it to use if they’re denied acceptance into college or university? Or if their families aren’t able to help them because they don’t earn enough due to economic inequality?

“Economic inequality can leave families financially vulnerable, unable to weather small financial setbacks or begin to build wealth,” U.S. News Senior Editor of Personal Finance Susannah Sinder wrote in a 2019 article.

This may also increase due to the pandemic that has caused many to lose their jobs. It’s also another reason as to why more money should be put into our community and more help should be focused on those who really need it.

We need to help strengthen the younger generation as they are the future of this world that can make a change and to do that we need to offer more resources to help them thrive, but also to help the society we live in.

We are asking for justice and equality. We as a country need to be better and educate ourselves as to what happens. Justice needs to be served for those who have died in the hands of law enforcement or hate crimes.

Our generation can be the new generation that will continue to fight for equality for those who can’t, fight for their voices to be heard because we can’t stay quiet any longer.

We don’t need more violence or crimes committed by those with power, we need them to do what is right. We need change to happen now because no one deserves to die for just living their life. We need equality and we need everyone to be treated the same no matter the color of their skin, race, sexuality, religion or gender.

Our differences are what makes us unique and no matter how many differences the next person may have we are all the same deep down.