The Injustices Black Men in America


Jordan Foster and Hasan Daniels

The constant prejudice, discrimination, and unjustified killings of unarmed African American men seem to be a reoccurring story in America.

According to PolitiFact, police officers have killed 853 people so far in 2018, and 25% of those people happen to be African American, yet African Americans only make up 13% of the nation’s population.

Tell me why it is that an African American security guard, by the name of Jamel Roberson, who was saving the lives of others during a Chicago bar shooting, was gunned down and killed by police officers while he was on the clock completing his duties to the best of his abilities?

The answer for that is simple, African Americans, especially African American men, are born with a target on their back. According to the NAACP official website, African American men are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of a Caucasian male in the United States. Black men are a constant target of abuse and racial profiling in this country.

“Race can be a matter of perception. I know from experiences I’ve felt the negative perceptions of others in terms of being fearful of my presence,” said US history teacher Andrew Daramola. “I’ve definitely have had experiences where I’ve been in stores and I had security trail me much more closely. There have also been instances where I’ve been stopped by police, and it was clear I hadn’t done anything wrong.”

Most black men will be racially profiled at least one time throughout their lifetime. The older I got the more attacked I felt. I’ve been in positions where I have been called a nigger, I’ve been followed around stores, and I’ve witnessed family members being harassed by police officers.

As I got older, the more exposed to racism I became. As a child, I was aware of the injustices African Americans faced, but at the same time, I was sheltered. As I got older some of the experiences I’ve heard about began to become a reality.

“If you are a black person brought into this world, especially a black man, your first kind of teachings are you are born with this target on your back because you aren’t white and because these people have a hatred for you,” said junior Ron Gray, an African American student at DVC. “I know for a fact I can’t walk outside my house without knowing there’s a risk of something tragic happening to me.”

African American men grow up knowing the risk they will face every day. From being discriminated and shown hate to even having their life on the line. Growing up I’ve seen cases like the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American male, who was walking home after making a purchase of Skittles and Arizona tea, was stopped and harassed by a resident, George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch member, approached the young man for supposedly trespassing in the wrong neighborhood which led to the physical altercation and death of Trayvon.

After seeing the headlines all over the news and the murder trial that didn’t serve Martin justice, I came to the realization that at any moment in time there’s a possibility I could be placed in that position. An African American man should be able to walk home and not worry about being stopped and harassed. In America, African American men are portrayed as criminals, so in most cases that is how we are seen and will continue to be seen and harassed until a change is made.

Ron Gray, 17 years old, has faced many adversities as an African American man in America. With having family who was part of the Black Panther party in Oakland, he is very aware of the struggles an African American man faces in America.

As an African man, his first encounters of racism has been being followed around a store. He believes the only way African American men will stop being targeted is if the country’s policies that are currently in place change.

“The entire American system as a whole is somewhat aimed towards disabling and keeping people in a submissive position, especially black Americans. I feel that I am definitely subject to the system of white supremacy that dictates this country,” said Gray. “There isn’t anything we can really do, unless we have serious policy changes, because most of the policies are aimed somewhat racially towards black people. Not only have I suffered discrimination or suffrage [suffering] in this country as a black man, I feel every black person has and will continue to unless the policies we currently have change.”

African American men being targeted or racially profiled in this country isn’t anything new or out of the ordinary. African men have had a target on their back from as far back as the segregation era. People like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and the Black Panther party all lived their lives with a target on their back due to their fight for equality for the African American community.

During the civil rights era, organizations like the FBI made plenty of attempts to stop black men from making a change for their communities. These organizations were said to be against any black power movements and they were responsible for the murders of two prominent Black Panther leaders during the 1960s.

There is a bright side to being an African American man in America. Dealing with the hostile and racist environment America has to offer, you become less susceptible to the harsh world we live in. You also become socially aware of everything going on around you at a young age, and it not only matures you, but it also prepares you for all the horrific events you may witness being an African American in today’s society.

“Being a black man in America has shaped me as a person, by knowing when to be responsible, knowing when to be mature, because it’s very common where irresponsible and responsible black men have been shot for doing nothing or something such as riding in a car and being pulled over for no reason,” said senior Jarrett Freeman. “I learned there is a time and a place to act a certain way, so I learned when it was the right moment to act a certain way.”

Living in the hostile world we all live in today has really shaped me into the person I am today. Growing up I always knew that the world wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I also learned that with the skin complexion I have, I would have to work ten times harder to achieve my goals. Despite being targeted and racially profiled, being successful and overcoming these setbacks is not impossible. With a strong mindset and high expectations, you can persevere through and challenges.