Tiny - Posted on 27 June 2019

Final paper for Decolonized English class by Ziair Hughes


It is because I am black that I chose the subject Being Black in Amerikkka. Being black in Amerikkka means its difficult to go outside with a hoodie on because if we have a hoodie the poLice will frame us as a criminal. Being black in amerikkka means you can’t ride a bike because the poLice will pull u over for riding it while black. This is why my essay will focus on why it's hard to be young and black in Amerikkka.                                   

Here is my case study. On September 2016 my brother, my mom and I were driving in the Eastmont mall parking lot when suddenly…..two poLice cars came up behind our little white hooptie and put on their lights.

“STOP THE VEHICLE” they shouted out their speaker phones.  Two white men suited and booted up with artilleries pulled out their guns. I didn't know what to think, and I put my hands up in the air. My mom did the same.  “STOP” they shouted.  

My mom and my brother and I were terrified. My mom got out and they grabbed her and slammed her on the concrete. My brother and I were still in the car sitting still as a rock. Luckily somebody we knew came to save us and police then realised we didn't do a crime  

“We are sorry, Ma’am,”said the police. At that point they tried to give me a sticker and act like everything was ok. 

I felt like everything was on fire. I was scared for my mom. I thought I was going to get shot. I thought the world was over and I was going to be laying there in a casket. I wanted to put those poLice officers in prison just like our people get put in everyday. Those two OPD officers were over-policing and being bullies to us. I was angry at them because they slammed my mom and they told me to put my hands in the air. This is a formal sign of criminalization. 

Being black in Amerikkka means always being scared and always fearing for your life. On that day I learned that officers aren’t always officers and are not always your friend. That day I learned that you cannot drive while black. You have to be in disguise, they are all lies. When they say they try to help us it's not really true. Let me tell you from the beginning.

 Now I know that we often are exposed to hegemony. Being black in America, we have to act like the oppressor. We get jobs like being poLice officers or lawyer, which isn’t bad, but we sometimes act hegemonic. We are also very much targeted because of the color of our skin. We have to dress like the white man, we have to buy nice cars and nice houses just to be associated with them and fit in. 

We are invisible to society and sometimes we don’t get recognized. We also get profiled for being black in America. For example, Mr. Stephon Clark was killed in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento, California, on March 18th, 2018. He was killed because of a vandalism complaint (washingtonpost.com). Being black in America also means we experience systematic oppression. The police officers that shot Mr. Stephon Clark were not prosecuted for killing him, yet YNW Melly, a rapper from Florida who shot two people during a home invasion was charged with the death penalty despite his diagnosed mental illness (complex.com). This is an example of a double-standard because YNW Melly is a black man who killed, the police officers killed as well but YNW Melly now faces the death penalty. 

The same with Mario Woods. “A young black man killed by San Francisco police had 20 gunshot wounds, including six in the back, according to an autopsy report released on Thursday...The shooting was captured on video and circulated widely online, igniting ongoing protests ‘Justice 4 Mario Woods’” (theguardian.com). He was a disabled man that was homeless at the time of his murder. He died on December 2nd, 2015. He was shot 26 times and then he dropped to the floor. He was shot in his head, legs, abdomen and buttocks by SFPD. This is so sad. He was a black man that was profiled as dangerous and they already had the mindset to kill him. It took them 15 minutes to kill him. Sadly, his family settled for a lawsuit against SFPD but they did not win and the police were not prosecuted. 

This is very sad. It happens to all the young black people; we are targeted. The system is the most criminal-based place in the world. It’s a gang. Every gang member has a part - the leader is the government and the police community are the gang members. They take out all the black people they can. Being black in America means that I have to hide my identity, put a mask on, and pretend it is me.

Another example is Sandra Bland. Sandra Bland, an Illinois native made a series of excited phone calls to friends and family, celebrating what she thought was a successful interview for a job at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, her alma mater..

Sandra Bland was a 28-year-old African-American woman who was found hanged in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas, on July 13, 2015, three days after being arrested during a traffic stop. Her death was ruled a suicide, they say, but really it was because she was a woman of color.

 “Officials announced that they have fired the Texas state trooper who pulled over Sandra Bland, whose death in jail last summer fueled criticism of police and their treatment of minorities Trooper Brian T. Encinia, 30, was formally fired Wednesday by Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, who said the officer's actions during the traffic stop with Bland violated department standards. McCraw met with Encinia on Feb. 5 and oversaw months of investigation.”

In this case, we see a police officer actually being prosecuted for their crime. 

"I have carefully considered all the points raised by you in our meeting," McCraw wrote in his letter of final termination. "I have determined that you have not rebutted the charges set out in the statement of charges of January 28, 2016. No cause has been presented to alter my preliminary decision" (latimes.com).

“The death of Alejandro "Alex" Nieto occurred on March 21, 2014 in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, California. Nieto was shot by four San Francisco Police Department officers before a night shift at work. A confrontation between Nieto and another civilian led to a bystander calling 911. Nieto was wearing a taser. Police allege that Nieto pointed the taser at them. The responding police officers also claim to have believed that the taser was a firearm

The San Francisco County District Attorney's Office declined to file criminal charges against the four officers involved in the shooting. Nieto's family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, alleging wrongful death. In March 2016, a jury cleared the four officers of all charges.Nieto, 28, was born on March 3, 1986 in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, California, to parents Refugio Nieto and Elvira Nieto (née Rodriguez), Mexican immigrants from the town of Tarimoro, Guanajuato.

In 2007, Nieto obtained a California state license to work as a security guard.Nieto graduated from the community college, City College of San Francisco, with a concentration in criminal justice. During this time he held an internship at the City of San Francisco's juvenile probation department.

Alex's parents retained the Law Offices of John Burris and filed a federal civil rights claim arguing the police wrongfully shot their son. The trial ended on March 10, 2016, a jury unanimously cleared the four officers of all charges. It was found that the taser's clock, the weapon’s trigger, was pulled. Nieto's prior issues with mental health were discussed, as toxicology reports found he was not on medication when he was killed. Also discussed were two separate incidents in 2011 when Nieto had contact with law enforcement and resulted in 72-hour mental health holds. The family argued that the police used excessive force and that there was contradictory evidence and details about what happened.” 

 In the case of Rodney King, who was beaten by police officers in 1991, the police officers were not charged for their brutality. 

Rodney Glen King was an American construction worker turned writer and activist after surviving an act of police brutality by the Los Angeles Police Department. On March 3, 1991, King was violently beaten by LAPD officers during his arrest for fleeing and evading on California State Route 210. A civilian, George Holliday, filmed the incident from his nearby balcony and sent the footage to local news station KTLA. The footage clearly showed King being beaten repeatedly, and the incident was covered by news media around the world.” (wikipedia)

“The four officers were tried on charges of use of excessive force; three were acquitted, the jury failed to reach a verdict on one charge for the fourth.” 

A few hours after they were acquitted the LA riots started, and black people in LA were upset about the verdict. 

“The rioting lasted six days, during which 63 people were killed and 2,373 were injured; it ended only after the California Army National Guard, the United States Army, and the United States Marine Corps provided reinforcements to re-establish control.”

The police officers were then taken to federal court for their crimes after the riots. 

“Their trial in a federal district court ended on April 16, 1993, with two of the officers being found guilty and sentenced to prison. The other two were acquitted of the charges. The city of Los Angeles awarded King $3.8 million in damages, in a separate suit. He struggled to start a business, but was not successful. In 2012, he was found dead in his swimming pool two months after publishing his memoir.” 

In conclusion aside from Oscar Grant, Sandra and my own family, being black in America, we are looked at as hazardous. Our race is an endangered species. We are looked at as disgusting, ghetto and poor. They stereotype us as being criminals. This country does not protect us. We are listed as the dangerous people. The reason why they kill us is because they are scared of us. These stories relate to each other because they were killed by police who have power. Police are seen as the “good guys,” and the governement cleans up the dirt when they murder black and brown people. I feel like there will be no black people left in the future if this keeps happening. 

I would take away weapons from police and stop the selling of weapons. I would get all the black people out of the penitentiary so that the fathers could teach their children how to not use a gun and how to fight so that they all the black on black crimes disappear. And for the police, I would teach them how to talk to people and use their words so they can figure out the situation before shooting. And, I would teach them how not to profile and ask “hey, did you do this?” 

I would tell any other kid that went through what I went through with my mom that they shouldn’t fear the police. Just do what they say, that is how I stayed alive. Don’t forget to be a kid and don’t let this get to you. My advice if you feel scared is to make sure your mom is okay (that cheered me up). 

Racism is defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior. We are often exposed to racism in this country. Being black in America means you are looked at with prejudice. The only way we will survive being black in America is to either be hegemonic or revolutionary. Hegemony, or acting like the oppressor, means that black people have to fit in with white people. 




https://www.complex.com/music/2019/02/ynw-melly-interview https://www.latimes.com


https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/feb/12/mario-woods-autopsy-san-francisco-police-fatal-shooting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_King https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Alex_Nieto


https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/how-the-stephon-clark-shooting-unfolded/2018/03/22/7165a116-2e0e-11e8-8dc9-3b51e028b845_video.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.68c27 I\ovenc108356 


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