The land of the “free”

In light of recent attacks on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is painfully clear that freedom and justice are subjective.

On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, millions of Americans watched in shame, sadness and horror as the Capitol building was invaded by supporters of President Donald Trump. The unfortunate reality that set in for many people as a result , especially African Americans, is that the outcome and reaction to these domestic terrorists by law enforcement would be entirely different if the attackers were Black. Photos surfaced across social media and major news platforms that supported this notion and exposed the reality that we are not equal. This act of violence and complete disregard for others proved to those who didn't already know that African Americans do not, and have never, received true justice - which comprises fairness and equality. Hence the need to continue to fight for, to bring light to and to say…Black Lives Matter.

Social media feeds flooded with photos that compared the police reactions to Black Lives Matter protests and the Capitol’s riot attack - it didn't take much to see that there was a distinct difference. In various news clips, police were seen taking selfies, removing barriers and even fleeing from violent protestors. During Black Lives Matter protests, the same outlets showed police shooting protestors with rubber bullets, throwing tear gas, aiming their guns, tasing, arresting, violently apprehending protestors and anything in between. 

This is the America in which we live. "The land of the free," as it's been called, where two distinctively different types of protests can be done, and two distinctively different reactions will be received not only from the public, but also from law enforcement. 

The personal trauma I feel as a Black woman, and the mother of a Black son, was heightened by the events on January 6, 2021; events that will be written in American history. The same history that was built on covert racism dripping in white privilege and white supremacy.

I will conclude this with a personal quote:

“We are living in a time where overt racism is hidden behind covert ignorance.”

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This blog was written by Jasmine McNeil, outreach coordinator, at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library