Current and former foster youth weigh in on racism and police brutality.
This year, 2020, has been hard for everyone; between coronavirus and fighting for equality, the world hasn’t had a moment to stop and breathe. Without a doubt, this year has been full of tragedy and sorrow as the number of lives lost continues to grow. However, not all of these horrific losses have been due to the pandemic; some losses have come from the people we were taught to trust with our lives, to trust that they would uphold justice and law within our great nation. Unfortunately, over the past seven months, a lot of the tears and outrage in our nation have been brought about by police officers.
As technology continually develops and becomes more accessible to the populace, more and more events are being recorded via video. One such instance of this is police brutality. Now it has become impossible for anyone to ignore these heinous acts.
As a young white man, I haven’t personally experienced police brutality, but just from seeing the news and the stories on social media, I realize that it is a monumental issue that needs to be solved. My overall experience with the police in my life has been pretty mild. One of my first sets of foster parents had a friend who was a police officer we would see pretty often. When living with my biological dad, my stepmom’s friend’s husband was a state ranger and he was one of the nicest people I have ever met. Not all police officers are good, but they aren’t also all bad.
I believe that protest as a whole is a great means for change, but small groups of people take things too far and wind up giving a whole group fighting to change a bad name. Rioting isn’t a response that will yield results. Fighting fear with fear will yield nothing but chaos; we need to find a way to peacefully change this broken system and make it more equal.
The tragedy of George Floyd’s death swept the nation like a wildfire. The first responses were social media posts and links to the family’s GoFundMe, but later it evolved into something much different. The embers of change were sparked in response to the tragedy. People in cities all across the nation gathered to protest police brutality and demand change. As someone who is at high risk for the coronavirus, I was, unfortunately, unable to attend any of these events. Instead, I took to social media and shared the pages of charities that served the target population and that help to bring about change.
Some people have gone so far as to call for defunding and abolishing the police, but that doesn’t seem to be the solution. We definitely need to change and increase the amount of training that is required to become a police officer, but we can’t abolish the police. We still need police officers to protect us. We also need to find some way to implement accountability within the police. I think we should also implement some level of social work into the training to become a police officer. A large number of calls that the police respond to are domestic cases or petty crimes, and not all of these have to be met with jail time or are concluded once someone is arrested.
Furthermore, some of the officers who are guilty of these crimes and are without a doubt known to be so are ruled not guilty in court or not brought up on charges. It’s insane that this can even happen. Most of these officers have been caught on videotape committing the crimes they are on trial for. It’s causing a lot of people to lose faith in their government. Our best solution here is to vote out these corrupt officials who are allowing such things to occur and vote in people who will fight for equality for everyone.