In the past month, I watched two documentaries that made a big impression on me. Both documentaries made me think about the Black Lives Matter movement, its motivations, and its impact. I have a black mother and a white father. Fortunately, I myself have never encountered discrimination or racism, and as far as I know, neither has my mother. It never occurred to me that other people with the same skin color as me, or my mother’s, often get discriminated against. I find it distressing to see that some form of modern racial segregation still seems to exist in the world.
Two documentaries made me understand better why the Black Lives Matter movement was founded. The first documentary I’ve seen is called “13th” and it’s about the 13th amendment to the US Constitution. This amendment includes the prohibition of slavery. The second documentary is called “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” and it is about a boy who, at the age of 16, spent 3 years in the infamous Rikers Island prison for a crime he did not commit. Both documentaries discuss the cause of the difference in treatment of black people by authorities in America. According to scientists and human rights activists, this can be traced back to slavery and the subsequent path to equality for all American citizens, regardless of their skin color.
Racism in the United States
Black people are still seen as “lesser” in America. In the past, there have even been presidents who have spread this message to the people. They took measures with the aim of reducing crime. At the time, it was quite a coincidence that more and more black people ended up in prison and became the victim of random searches on the street. The closing images of the documentary ’13th’ have stayed with me ever since. It showed images of black Americans, who have been shot dead on the street by the police, without any reason. Or of people that have been killed by police brutality. The last images consisted of photos and names of the black people who have all died at the hands of the police. There were a lot of names. Too many.
I notice that I find this a difficult subject to talk about. Still, I think it’s important that we all think about and look into why the Black Lives Matter movement is so necessary. Surely, you shouldn’t be treated differently in 2021, just because you have black skin? You shouldn’t be shot by the police, because you make a ‘suspicious’ move and also happen to be black. We all bleed the same and look the same from the inside. It seems as if certain parts of history are repeating themselves. I would so much like for my children to grow up in a world where everyone is equal. In a world where the color of your skin doesn’t affect how you’re treated. Because who cares?
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” – Martin Luther King Jr.