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Letter to the editor: Everything is tied to systemic racism
Letter to the Editor generic


Every time a conversation focuses on the disparity of the number of young Black males being killed by Caucasian police officers, someone inevitably asks the question, “Why don’t anyone talk about Black on Black kids killing each other?”

To set the record straight, that question has to be recognized for what it is: A slight-of-hand tactic; a smoke screen; misdirection. The reason that question is asked is to throw off the focus and change the narrative. But if we answer that question, we put an end to it.

In America, Black people are constantly, daily, hourly, minute to minute, dealing with systemic racism. When we talk about police brutality, the basis is systemic racism.

When we talk about crime in the Black communities, the basis is systemic racism. This is not something that can be compartmentalized. These are branches of the tree of systemic racism that continue to bear strange fruit.

Systemic racism in this country was bred from the attitudes and ideals of superiority dating back to slave owners who considered Black people property. Beginning with the accepted notion of oppression, very little has changed. There is a certain segment of the Black population that is designated to perpetuate the narrative of inferiority: if you have superiority, you must have its opposite, inferiority.

This is the expendable population. If you were to trace the family history of many of the young Black males caught up in the killing of one another, you would likely find generational poverty, generational incarceration, generational oppression, generational hopelessness and a system that ensures the maintenance of the status quo through upholding systemic racism, because, as was stated in the movie, Boys N The Hood, “They want us to kill each other.”

In the neighborhoods with high incidences of crime, there are no jobs for young people, yet our society is based on a monetary system that determines your success. The infrastructure is diminished or non-existent. State and local monies do not reach these neighborhoods until they become gentrified. There are more fast food restaurants than grocery stores, more liquor stores than Black owned businesses. Substandard education continues to exist because the community is not considered viable. Attitudes of systemic racism.

So when people ask why we don’t talk about Black on Black crime, the question should be why aren’t they listening? And if the question is not just a misdirection question for them, why aren’t they standing and fighting systemic racism with us? It’s all connected. Until we eradicate the root, the tree of systemic racism will continue to thrive to the detriment of the Black community.

Sharon and Craig Butts of Unity in the Community and The Falcon Group Richmond Hill

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