Genise Grigsby (Reaction Paper Sample)
Topic What meaning do you want to give to the Michael Brown case? Not what you think about it, but what meaning you want to give to it. You Must quote Michael Eric Dotson's Pacifica Air Radio interview twice in your essay and you Must weave in at least one reference to Empathic Civilization. Sent from Yahoo Mail on Androidsource..
The Meaning of the Lives and Deaths Michael Brown and Eric Garner
In the U.S, people are familiar with the historical encounters in the country when people were segregated on the basis of racial and cultural differences. During such times, the country’s political and social climate were characterized by injustices where some ethnic groups were considered privileged than others. Today, with the high level of civilization in the world, such encounters have seemingly diminished and any form of them would ignite racial aggressions among people as a reminder of the history. This is demonstrated in the recent events pertaining to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, who were allegedly killed by their counterparts white police officers (Parloff). The death of the two black men raised some concern over the existence of interracial killings within the country. Besides, the jury verdicts on the killings were perceived to be injustice done to the two men, as the white police men were set free on the stand that there existed substantial probable cause to warrant the police to act the way they did, causing the death of the victims. The lives and deaths of the victims can provide inference of how the black community in the country perceives their lives to be. A majority among the black community derive some strong significance from the tragic events, relating to how the society undermines the black race and the prevalence of police brutality against the black folks, even though these might not be the case (Dyson).
Eric Garner’s life, a father of six, represents the lives of many black Americans who are trying out whatever means to earn a living. At the time of his death, Garner was arrested for allegedly selling cigarettes that had no the requisite tax stamps on them. The police officers, who arrested him, had previously arrested him several times for the same mistake. Frustrated by the arrests, Garner showed some signs of resisting by not submitting his hands for handcuffing (Parloff). This mandated the four police officers to bring him down by choke-holding him, even when such a tactic is not allowed by the law. Garner complained several times that he could not breathe but the police officers failed to realize that, which caused his death. In the case of Brown, he was walking across the road, when the police noticed that he matched a description of an individual who had just been reported to steal a box of cigarillos from a convenient store. The police blocked his way, which forced Brown to approach the police car, demanding to know why he was being stopped. According to witnesses, Brown had lifted his hands up as a sign of surrender but as he was approaching the police patrol car, Brown was shot several times, killing him (Parloff).
In both cases, the jury failed to sentence the police officers involved in the killings citing that there were considerable probable causes to force the officers to act the way they did, causing the death of the victims (Parloff). Despite the presence of enough evidence to prove substantial negligence among the police officers that led to the deaths of the victims, the jury failed to acknowledge that, raising some concern over the viability of justice ever being served in cases involving the killings of black people by white police officers. Although in the case of Brown, it could be difficulty to prove the case against the police due to insufficient evidence, Garner’s case, however, clearly shows some lack of respect for the life of the black man. By the victim calling out, “I can’t breathe,” the police officers could have showed some concern by handling Garner with care and respect instead of continuing handling him in the prone position that caused his death. Even though the victims were huge, the police officers should not have stereotyped the men for being dangerous because they had no weapon.
The deaths of the two black men brought uproar among the black community in the U.S, protesting that the justice system in the country was undermining the black race. Majority of the blacks still feel that racism exists, something that they find unwelcoming in the modern civilized world. The courts have failed to acknowledge the due process of the law that is expected to safeguard the safety and freedom of every citizen in the country. In responding to the jury’s’ verdicts, Prof. Michael Eric Dyson complained that cases involving the killings of black people by police are never brought into courts for justice to be served. This in essence has resulted to the growth of mistrust among the police and the citizen, with people of colour viewing police officers as their enemies. The stereotype of white police officers ‘demonizing’ people of colour does more harm to the society by extending the rift between the law-enforcers and black people. This is also demonstrated in Claudia Rankine’s poem, citizen, where the poet narrates about the lives of the black community who are demoralized by law enforcers in the country. In her poem, the poet exhibits how police demonizes black people by suspecting them to be criminals because of matching a description of an alleged criminal. This behavior is common in the country and is making the lives of many innocent blacks, uncomfortable. A majority of the black people fears the police, who are believed to be always in the hunt of black people to criminalize them and harass them despite the existence of the law supposedly protecting their rights and freedom.
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