When Black death goes viral don't be a bystander



ART BY JOSEPH MENDOZA

Daunte Wright was a 20-year-old man with a girlfriend, a child and a bright future ahead of him. However, all of his dreams and aspirations were violently ripped away in another act of police brutality.


Racial inequality is still extremely prevalent, even in the modernized world that we live in today. News reports of white police officers murdering Black citizens have become so commonplace that people are not even shocked when another is broadcasted. Americans have gotten so used to seeing Blacks enduring horrific treatment to the point that nothing is surprising anymore.


It should not take the publicization of the unfortunate reality for People Of Color (POC) in the media for Americans to understand the corrupted nature of their home country. This serves as a dangerous indication for the country’s future—America is now on the path to desensitizing the public, preventing youths from understanding the gravity of the situation, and subsequently, change from truly occurring. Social media influencers have now also found a way to contribute to this growing issue by engaging in performative activism. There is no point in rooting for change if nothing is being done aside from signing petitions and exercising ‘slacktivism.’


The world has always remained the same. No matter how hard people have tried to erase and look past America’s racist history, nothing has changed. The same people are constantly being exploited everyday. The same people are being met with obstacles that would certainly not exist if they were another race. Colored individuals are still being looked down upon just for the color of their skin. Most American citizens have never realized the degree of this prevalent issue— that is— until now.


It was Sunday, Apr. 11. The thought of this day being his last never crossed his mind as Wright drove through a suburb in Minneapolis. Suddenly, he was pulled over for having an expired license registration. Officers later realized that there was an ongoing warrant for his arrest. Unsurprisingly, gunshots rang out and another life was brutally ended. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters that a police officer meant to taze him but ended up using the wrong weapon. Later on, both him and the officer responsible for Wright’s death, Kim Potter, publicly resigned to avoid further scrutiny.


This event, occurring merely days before from the Derek Chauvin trial and 10 miles away from where George Floyd died of suffocation: sparking another nationwide uproar. Rows of protests erupted across Minnesota as the Black community came together to mourn the death of another one of their own.


Once again, excuses for racist, destructive behavior are being spouted out by numerous public officials accompanied by neverending lies.


Does the murder of Daunte Wright being coined as an accident change anything? No: Daunte Wright is still dead, and his parents will forever be reminded of the fact that their son was murdered due to yet another act of racism.


"I lost my son. He’s never coming back. I can’t accept that. A mistake? That doesn’t even sound right. This officer has been on the force for 26 years. I can’t accept that,” Wright’s father Aubrey told ABC news.


Regardless of the reason for his death, he will never be brought back to life. The damage has already been done, and now it is time for the leaders of this country to do their part and take action.


Black deaths are frequently discussed throughout mass media. So what? The constant reports of their harrowing murders are still not enough for Americans to feel outraged at the appalling events that are taking place. In fact, the increased media coverage has detrimental effects on the progress of reform. Just look at Daunte Wright’s murder as an example: does seeing another loss of a member in the Black community do much other than fuel more protests? Protests are not even successful most of the time. At this point, Americans are already used to this country’s racist foundation. The only people that seem to care are the people directly affected: Blacks.


Now, the pressing question is: what can be done to stop ethnic discrimination for good if no one is listening to cries of help that have been echoing for centuries? Protestors are often met with violence, some deservingly so and others unfairly so.


For a long time, minorities have felt out of place in a society dominated by their white counterparts. However, things changed as people started burying America’s history of bigotry under the ground in hopes of forgetting about the centuries of torture that colored individuals underwent. After all, people have already moved on from the past— everything was supposed to change for the better. Yet, one thing that has not changed is the internal prejudice that some humans still have against others. It seems like this country’s reputation as being “the land of the free and the home of the brave” only holds true for the privileged.


No matter how close America is to desensitization, it is still possible for the country to turn around and head in a positive direction. Instead of educating yourself through influencers, educate yourself by standing with the activists in the real world. Be an ally, a friend and a supporter, not an adversary, an enemy and a foe. Together, it is possible to rid the world of discrimination and prejudice.