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People’s Monday Black Lives Matter NYC march on June 20, 2016. (Photo by Erik McGregor/Pacific Press)

 

Last week in two separate instances, black men were shot and killed by white police officers.

Philando Castile was shot and killed in Minnesota as he reached for his wallet to show officers his identification and permit to carry a gun.

Alton Sterling was shot multiple times by officers while he was pinned to the ground beneath their knees.

These are not the first times incidents like this have happened, and if we just stand idly by and do nothing, these shootings will happen again.

Racism in America is not some old concept that exists only in history books — it’s an issue that still lives on and affects people on a daily basis.

I am a white man. Because of how our society currently exists, I am given “special privilege” because I am white and male. Even though when I go out every day I don’t feel like I’m “privileged,” I am.

I don’t know what it’s like to be called a nigger while walking down Harrison Boulevard.

I don’t know what it’s like to be pulled over by a police officer because of the color of my skin.

I don’t know what it’s like to be afraid of being shot when confronted by an officer.

I don’t know what it’s like to have these thoughts, these worries, these experiences. But I do know one thing.

Nobody deserves to be treated that way.

That’s why we need to step up and face this problem head on.

It’s all too easy for the white community to stand off to the side and think, “Oh, this is a black problem. We shouldn’t get involved. It isn’t about us.”

But this movement is about us. All of us.

How can we as a society condemn slavery, condemn segregation, condemn hate speech, and then remain silent about the racism that has infected police departments across the nation?

Not all police officers go out and let racism cloud their decisions and judgment, but at this point in 2016, we have seen enough instances of black men being killed to show that this is a major problem affecting the nation.

When a tragedy occurs like the killings of the five police officers in Dallas after a Black Lives Matter rally, it’s easy to lose focus of the real issue at hand. When you go out and say “Blue Lives Matter,” or “All Lives Matter,” you become part of the problem that the Black Lives Matter movement is trying to fight.

By saying “Blue Lives Matter,” or “All Lives Matter,” you are ignoring the problems facing black people, and you instead are supporting the current status quo of how our society acts today.

When people are saying “Black Lives Matter,” they aren’t saying other lives matter less. They’re saying that black lives matter ALSO.

On “The Daily Show” on Thursday night, host Trevor Noah said, “You shouldn’t have to choose between the police and the citizens that they are sworn to protect.”

He’s right. We shouldn’t choose between the police and citizens.

We should choose equality over injustice.

 

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