We Are All Targets: The Detrimental Effects of Police Brutality

I wrote this two years ago. From 20 to 22, nothing has changed.

Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

Police Brutality is Crime

Police brutality is neither a new, nor an isolated affair. It will not be abated without a united effort for it to be renounced. Who could have known that an unfit president would result in such widespread social unrest? I’ll tell you who knew — every threatened minority.

The word threatened is subjective in a sense, because I do know minorities who claimed to vote for Trump. It all comes down to a person’s sense of security and their regard, or lack thereof, for others. Contempt is selfish, and ignorance is an excuse. You are no different, as long as you look the same.

As a college-educated woman who lives in a pretty liberal part of New York, it would be easy enough for me to feel lulled into a false sense of security. I suspect this is the case for the minorities I met, who felt the need to vote right.

However, unlike them, I can’t ignore that the choices I have made to become the person I am today, may be completely diminished by one scared man with a gun — who has judged me solely based on the color of my skin, or how loud I am around my friends.

This is America

The shape of what I wear should never amount to the reason I die. (CLICK TO TWEET)

When you are walking home at night, do you consider that your outfit could be the very thing to erase your hard work? The shape of what I wear should never amount to the reason I die. Intentions, accomplishments, future plans, all are erased in the moment that I am seen as a threat. This is the moment I become a victim.

In light of this globally-embarrassing chain of racially-motivated events, American police institutions have come under fire for fueling and feeding into this trend. Regardless of innocence, regardless of history, regardless of plausible future events, there are precedents for handling criminal cases in America.

So why are so many black men denied the presumption of innocence; instead, being killed or traumatized minutes after an attempted arrest? Why are white men who have chosen to murder dozens, treated with more respect than a black man who hasn’t done any harm? This is America.

This is why we say their names.

Mind the Media

Amidst this violence, the media does nothing but perpetuate racist beliefs. Black men are portrayed using their mugshots while white men who commit more dastardly crimes are allowed to be seen through their family photos, and even selfies sometimes.

When my time comes, will this article be used against me? To say that I “have been found to object” to the very institution that threatens me? What if I have a panic attack while being targeted? Will the moment I become unresponsive seal my fate at the hands of a “blue life”?

And after the fact, let’s consider my background: will they choose to focus on the countless internships and jobs I deliberately fought for to move ahead in life, or will they revert my decisions and hone in on my hometown, which paints a pretty picture for crime?

The Struggle to Thrive

The reality is that I no longer fear death. In order to survive, I have to erase this anxiety from my mind. Existing in fear of death may be the absurd foundation of life, but with the weight of race that surrounds me, it becomes an anchor that hinders my ability to thrive.

Or maybe I should admit that I don’t feel this fear until the very moments I think I might die, when the anxiety bunches and clouds around me as punishment for turning a blind eye.

I’m not sure how minorities can be expected to live in such an asymmetrical world, without developing a complex or an aptitude for crime. If you were born in a situation with seemingly minuscule odds of survival, wouldn’t you do anything you could to get by?

We Are All Victims

We are nearing the apex of an unpromising time. I fear for the day it all becomes too much, the day the community fortifies its side, for this is the day that true violence strikes. In history, this has happened time and again across a number of nations and tribes.

In truth, there’s not much you can do to restore a sense of security once it has been entirely undone. It is then that we all become victims of the very same crimes that those unaffected deny.

Check Your Privilege

If you think you are safe, then you need to rethink your privilege — particularly if you don’t believe it exists. For it appears in your belief that this presidency, though damaging, will not have a great or lasting effect. It appears in your ability to ignore what is happening around America, because you are safe in your social status — because you have nothing to fear related to the way that you look, dress, or act.

Privilege is reducing your family’s decision to elect a racially insensitive and emotionally callous president, to an “economic choice”. We are beyond the realm of financial concern and if you could see beyond your privilege, if you could truly understand, then you wouldn’t be so quick to rationalize your choice. Check your privilege before coming to the line of defense.

A massive divide is under way, and this terrifies me. It’s shocking that some people still choose not to see. All I can hope is that I’ve painted a good enough picture for you to comprehend my fears.



Comfort-obsessed, unfixed being. Always trying. Continually coming to be. Currently working on Dark Matter: the publication where unspoken thoughts find words.

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Ashleigh M.

Comfort-obsessed, unfixed being. Always trying. Continually coming to be. Currently working on Dark Matter: the publication where unspoken thoughts find words.