I am going to attempt to put into words the irritation and fury that resides in my body after witnessing another black teenage girl get manhandled by an authority figure. The situation between Deputy Officer Ben Fields and the student who was being disobedient in class has floored me, and every time I see someone defending this man’s actions I feel personally attacked.
Before I delve into that, I want to set the scene for people who are asking for “the full story.” The girl in the video was recently put into a foster home due to the death of her mother. The foster home was in a different school district so she had to uproot her life, go to this new school and restart, which is not easy for anyone.
Fast forward to math class where the student refused to go to the office for having her phone out in class. After refusing both the teacher and the administrator that was called in later, Deputy Ben Fields made his appearance. The student refused to leave the class, was told she was under arrest and then was flipped out of her desk into another desk which cut open her face. Another student who was enraged by the incident was also arrested because she verbally challenged the officers actions. Deputy Ben Fields has been fired and the two students are the possibility of one thousand dollar fines or up to 90 days in jail.
With that being said, I want to address this next section to the people who agree with Deputy Fields actions’. I want you to understand that this situation and the death of unarmed black people in America, is the reason I do not feel my life is valued as a black man. Any way you paint this picture it still is a power dynamic based on race, class and sex.
Ben Fields can claim his black girlfriend is proof he isn’t racist all he wants to, but it does not change the systemic racism in the law enforcement institution in the great country of the United States. At least 257 black people have been killed in the United States due to police violence in 2015 alone. Black people are 3 times more likely to be killed by police officers than white people, and 33 percent of those black victims were unarmed compared to the 18 percent of white victims. I am six times more likely to be killed in Oklahoma than in Georgia due to police brutality.
This is common, this has become expected and I am tired. I am tired of living in a world where fifteen year old black girls can be sat on by police officers and detained. I’m tired of reading hashtag after hashtag of unarmed people killed by police. I am tired of seeing people blame black people for their own deaths over and over and over again. I’m tired of being fearful of police officers in every situation of my life. It is hard being black and not feeling safe when the people who are supposed to protect you are around and I AM TIRED.
Also, honestly, I am tired of talking about police brutality and race but I promise you, until it is resolved, I will scream from the highest mountain top, the lowest valley, the steps of McFarlin, until I am blue in the face that my life matters because for some reason, America does not get that.
More information on police brutality can be found at wetheprotestors.org.