There are many stories of genocides throughout various parts of the world. The Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and so much more. None of these documented events however have occurred in the United States, or at least they have and they have not been classified as such.The dictionary defines genocide as the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of specific group or nation. With this definition in mind, the systematic killing of black people in the United States is one of the largest ongoing genocides this country has seen. From the beginning of time, black people have been seen as inferior to other races but especially to whites. Centuries ago blacks were taken from there homeland of Africa and brought to the US with the intentions of making them property and to force them into slavery.
In the United States of America there are over three hundred million people. Black people makeup about thirteen percent of the overall population. In 2017, over one thousand one hundred people were shot and killed by the police. Of those that were shot and killed, black people made up over twenty five percent of that number. In 2016, over one thousand people were killed by the police in the country. At the rate of recent events, the number of deaths due to police shootings is expected to climb in 2018. While conducting research, each source reported different numbers for each year. One could guess that this is due to the fact that many cases go unreported.
Despite all of the stories in the media, police shootings and brutality are not the only things killing black people in America. According to research, almost forty thousand people are shot and killed each year in the United States. Everyday there are close to one hundred death throughout the country due to gun violence. Of all reported gun related deaths in the world, America makes up eighty two percent of the toll. Gun violence has somehow become a norm in American society with the many stories reported daily. “Americans are 128 times more likely to be killed in everyday gun violence than any act of international terrorism.”(Knopov, Pahn&Siegel). America is among one of the only countries in the world to have such relaxed gun control regulations.
A black person in America is almost five hundred times more likely to be shot and killed than any other race. Each day, news and media outlets report the deaths of a black person whether guilty or innocent. Black people in America are being murdered at much higher rates than any other race in the country. However many go unphased by the news because Americans overall have become numb to the sound of death due to gun violence. The murder of a black person in the United States can be equated to killing a bug on a car windshield. The deaths unfortunately are limited to gun violence. There have been reports of lynching in the media recently. Lynching is the killing of a person by tying a rope around their necks and and hanging them, typically from a tree. Many may think that racial lynching is a thing of the past, an idea left behind after segregation and the civil rights movement. On October 17,2018 the body of a twenty four year old black man was found hanging from a tree in his mother’s backyard. His name was Danye Jones and is one of the many black killed due to systematic racism.
In the eyes of many Americans, this ongoing epidemic does not matter. There has been a nationwide activist movement started by African Americans appropriately named Black Lives Matter. The movement was founded by three African American women Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. The movement came about in 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted got the murder of seventeen year old Trayvon Martin. The Black Lives Matter movement was created in an attempt to shed light on the systematic targeting and killing of black people in the US. Many individuals may think the phrase alludes to the fact that only black lives matter. There have been organizations created in attempts to debunk the movement, for example Blue Lives Matter, and All Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter is a cry for help, taking a stance to say that black people are here too, and are equally as important.
The killings of black people is not a matter that just begun in recent years. This is something that has been going on since black people were brought over from Africa and forced into slavery. Unfortunately, this is not a battle that is going to end anytime soon. No one can say what will stop this epidemic however it starts with changing how black people are viewed in society. The idea that the white man is superior and that blacks are inferior has to be abolished as well. With hope in mind, this rhetoric will end with future generations to come.
Harriot, M. (2018, January 02). Here’s How Many People Police Killed in 2017. Retrieved November 14, 2018, from https://www.theroot.com/heres-how-many-people-police-killed-in-2017-1821706614
Knopov, A., & Siegel, M. (2018, September 17). Gun violence in the US kills more black people and urban dwellers. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/gun-violence-in-the-us-kills-more-black-people-and-urban-dwellers-86825
Sullivan, J., Anthony, Z., Tate, J., & Jenkins, J. (2018, January 06). Nationwide, police shot and killed nearly 1,000 people in 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/nationwide-police-shot-and-killed-nearly-1000-people-in-2017/2018/01/04/4eed5f34-e4e9-11e7-ab50-621fe0588340_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.21123cf0fa36
Swaine, J., & McCarthy, C. (2017, January 08). Young black men again faced highest rate of US police killings in 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2018, from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/08/the-counted-police-killings-2016-young-black-men
Reshaé Butler is a 23 year old senior at ODU working toward obtaining her degree in fashion merchandising in Fall 2018. She originally transferred from a private school in NOVA called Marymount University. She currently works in retail, and is using her time there to learn more about what it takes to be in visual merchandising. Reshaé has spent her entire life in the Hampton Roads area, outside of her one semester at MU and has plans to move much warmer climates soon after graduation.