Black Lives Matter: Supporting Black Americans Against Systemic Racism
Everyone at Psych Central is outraged against the continued violence against African Americans and those protesting for Black Americans’ rights. It’s time for every American to stand up and speak out against the systemic racism endemic to our country. It’s time to take a stand against this prejudice and racism that has been a 400+ year stain on our country.
George Floyd, like too many African-Americans before him, suffered at the hands of overly-aggressive and racially-motivated prejudicial policing. He paid for it with his life. Despite decades of scientific research demonstrating how to de-escalate situations and how to conduct community policing with respect and civility, too many police officers have decided to ignore their training, to ignore their oath, and to ignore basic humanity.
Make no mistake about it — police officers have been getting away with indiscriminate killing of African-Americans within our country for decades. Let off with nothing more than a disciplinary hearing in the most extreme cases, there have been few consequences for officers who don’t equally value the life of the people they are supposed to be protecting and serving, no matter their color. We’ve heard the names of the victims over the years — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown — and these are just a handful of them. Sadly, George Floyd joins their ranks.
Like most Americans, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of this systemic, institutionalized racism. I’m sick of watching my fellow Americans get beaten, thrown to the ground, arrested, and even losing their lives for just for going about their business. I’m sick of seeing police treat Black Americans in a manner they would never dream of treating a white American.
We must come together as a country and support our fellow citizens peacefully protesting these horrible, indefensible actions by police officers. We must come together to support the Black Lives Matter movement, to recognize that due to our country’s 400+ year history of enslavement, societal discrimination, and racism — baked into the very fabric of some of our institutions — more must be done proactively to make amends for our past actions. That’s why we support the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which tries to address some of the institutionalized problems in policing that disproportionately affect Black Americans.
Black lives have too often been minimized and disempowered. That must end today.
It’s time for a change. It’s time to recognize the old ways of behaving aren’t working any longer. It’s time to rethink how we look at policing in America, to reconsider that maybe if we spent half as much as we do on policing as we do for community services, for social services, for jobs programs, for drug treatment programs, to give people living in disadvantaged neighborhoods more opportunities and resources, we might all enjoy more benefits as a society.
We’re in this together. Psych Central is with you. Together, we can be the change we imagine, to leave racism once and for all in our past. And work toward a future where all people are not only created equal, but are also treated equally, no matter their color.
It’s easy to keep doing the same thing over and over. But we shouldn’t be surprised by getting the same results. As others have said, silence is no longer an option. We cannot stand idly by watching any longer. We must take action. We must demand action. We must expect change.
This is a unique moment in history. A moment that will be immortalized forever as one where America was faced with a clear and defining choice. Continue down the road of racism, of unequal rights for Black Americans, of accepting police brutality against our fellow Americans as normal. Or change direction and blaze a new path of change, recognizing the needs of Black Americans, and ensuring we fix what’s broken in our nation of systemic racism. The choice is ours. History will record the decision we make, for better or for worse.
Black Lives Matter. Demand change from your political leaders today — local, state, and national. We have the ability, but do we have the will?
Grohol, J. (2020). Black Lives Matter: Supporting Black Americans Against Systemic Racism. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 9, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/black-lives-matter-supporting-black-americans-against-systemic-racism/