Being black at N.C. State

Being black at N.C. State

When a child breaks down on national television because his father was pinned and gunned down like an animal, we should all be sad. When a woman has to film her boyfriend bleed out right next to her after a cop shooting while her daughter watches from the backseat, we should all be angry. But instead, it’s become

When a child breaks down on national television because his father was pinned and gunned down like an animal, we should all be sad. When a woman has to film her boyfriend bleed out right next to her after a cop shooting while her daughter watches from the backseat, we should all be angry. But instead, it’s become the status quo to dig through the lives of the dead and pull mistakes from their past to justify them being murdered. We should all be embarrassed.

These past couple of days have been a harsh reminder of the deep-rooted issues this country faces. Call it racism, call it police brutality, call it poor training, call it what you want — the result is still the same. People, especially people of color, are being gunned down on a daily basis for little to no reason. That is leading to even more violence, with innocent police being targeted, as we’ve seen in Texas. You don’t have to be anti-cop or pro-Black Lives Matter to see that there is a problem and want a solution. But you do have to be ignorant to the facts to think that there is nothing going on.

Black Lives Matter rally Raleigh

Shaking Brooks, 21, a student at St. Augustine’s University, listens to speakers during a Black Lives Matter rally at Moore Square in Raleigh on Friday, July 8. Photo from the News & Observer.

For me, as a black man, it’s especially difficult when my friends and classmates at N.C. State try to make excuses as to why people of color are unjustifiably killed. I try to stay away from topics like these on campus because I’ve almost lost friends over it in the past. It’s hard to get them to understand the insecurities that I feel after seeing Philando Castile and Alton Sterling being killed. I don’t think they understand the anxiety I feel when driving past a cop car on the road. For me, I don’t fear getting a ticket. Instead, I’m afraid I might be shot because I’m presumed to be a threat due to my skin color. I’m afraid I might be shot because I’m black.

Going to a predominately white school, I’m bound to hear about how black people shot by the police were asking for it. Having many white friends, I know #AllLivesMatter is going to show up more than a few times on my Facebook feed. When I find out that people close to me think this way, I find it easier to just stay quiet about the topic. But that is a suffocating feeling.

136 black people have been shot by cops so far this year. That’s nearly one a day. Of all the black people shot by cops in 2015, one in three were unarmed. Unarmed blacks were killed at five times the rate as unarmed whites in 2015.

President Barack Obama spoke on this himself when he addressed the shootings of Sterling and Castile. He talked about how African Americans are 30 percent more likely than people of other races to be pulled over and three times more likely to be searched. The president also went on to talk about how blacks were shot at twice the rate of whites by police in 2015, arrested at twice the rate and given harsher sentences for the same crime.

My grandfather was a cop and retired as a lieutenant. He believed that if you ’re afraid of the people you’re protecting, you shouldn’t be protecting them. If a man on the floor with two bullet wounds scares you into shooting him more, you shouldn’t be a cop. Using a firearm is the last resort. Pulling a gun means you have no other choice.

This isn’t just a black problem. This is an American problem. Until everyone — cops and citizens alike — stands up to say something, this will continue to happen.

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Marcus Blyden
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7 Comments

  • Dee
    July 12, 2016, 4:56 pm

    Great article

    REPLY
  • Dee
    July 12, 2016, 4:56 pm

    Very insightful

    REPLY
  • Auntie
    July 13, 2016, 7:38 am

    I’m so proud of you. This is an amazing article.

    REPLY
  • Pastor Harris
    July 13, 2016, 8:17 am

    Sound article and great read!

    REPLY
  • A Lopes
    July 13, 2016, 10:08 am

    Love it.

    REPLY

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