Donald Glover and the other writers of Atlanta did a great job showing the daily challenges of being black in the United States. They discussed the intersection of topics such as police brutality, mental health, and trans-phobic in relation to the systemic racism and violence experienced by black America. For the purposes of this post, I would like to focus on the shows discussion of police brutality and black culture.
Since the 2012 tragic death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old teen from Florida, the tension between the African-American community and law enforcement has intensified. Black culture has been to blame for the increase in deaths at the hands of the men and women who are supposed to serve and protect our communities. It seems all too easy to blame the black community, specifically black men, for the increase in fatal police shootings. Black men are said to have a chip on their shoulders which is why they have little respect for law enforcement, but I would like to argue against this. The “chip” on the shoulder is actually resistance to the continuing injustices and inequalities in America that offer little opportunity for people of color. African American men who decide not to be submissive to a white man they are somehow considered “the problem” and are disposable. Bell Hook writes in her book, Black Looks: Race and Representations, “The portrait of black masculinity that emerges in [many] work[s] perpetually constructs black men as failures who are psychologically fucked up, dangerous, violent, sex maniacs, whose insanity is informed by their inability to fulfill their phallocentric masculine destiny in a racist context.” Unfortun...
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... in the car waiting for his jacket they are surrounded by Atlanta Swat Team who have their weapons drawn and are looking for the guy who has the jacket. The man appears in the distance and instead of making chance all the officers began to firing, leading Paper Boi to ask the question, “Did you need all those bullets?” Earnest walks over to the dead body of the Hispanic unarmed teen and asks if he could take the jacket of the boy because he needs the key to his storage unit.
With some many videos of unarmed men and women being killed by law enforcement on the internet we as a society we have become numb to the violence. We protest and have moments like Black Lives Matter, but at the end of the day nothing has changed and you can still be killed for being a black man on the street. Black culture does not create or propitiate police brutality, however, blackness does.
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