A Crowd of People Stood and Stared

November 23 2013

I am an 18 year old NYC college student so perhaps I’m too young to be annoyed with society or maybe I’m the quintessential cynical age. For those of you reading who feel a young adult’s opinions are invalid (you’re an age-ist basically) feel free to stop reading and go deal with your more pressing adult matters (go balance your check book or something!). But I think I have lived long enough to be able to comment on some of the imbalance I notice around me. I have noticed in the past couple years multiple cases of black Americans getting killed in circumstances that would have been extraordinarily different if these people were white. Besides the obvious Trayvon Martin case, there was a 19-year old girl, Renisha McBride who was shot in the face when she approached a white man’s house after being in a car accident. She was asking for help and was intoxicated at the time. So yes this woman was drunk, and yes it was 1AM, but what century do we live in where a person would shoot and kill a young person who was asking for help? If a blonde white girl, like myself (minus the blonde), had approached this man’s house I don’t think there would be a second thought of him lowering his weapon and asking the woman what she needed; he didn’t even have to open the door, just talk through the damn window! There was another case of a white man following his black 14-year-old neighbor onto the boy’s property and shooting him dead because the man believed the teenager had stolen from him. The boy turned out to not be the robber.
So America has now created a society where Stand Your Ground law allows anyone to arbitrarily kill whoever they believe has obstructed their safety. How broad are these assumptions and how can we not see that decisions are being made based on racial prejudice? It horrifies me to my core. Furthermore, most of the violence in America could be lessened if gun enforcement was readdressed. But even after Congress heard pleas from a Senator who had been shot in the head and grieving parents whose children had been massacred at their elementary school, they still failed to pass any restrictive measures on guns. There is some who argue that gun law won’t change anyone’s access to guns. I do understand the power of the black market and the fact that there are currently more guns in possession in America than there are people. Does this mean I should just sit back and come to terms with the fact that I live in an irrational, violent country? Well then I guess I will be asking for a one-way ticket to Sweden or New Zealand for graduation, because I’m not going to raise kids in a place where the people ruling the country are quoting bible passages and 18th century documents as a means of rationale. I know I have a lot to learn about life and experiences but there are some things that seem to me to be purely right and wrong. The paranoid, prejudiced, trigger-happy population that continues to make headlines have got to be the wrong ones.
p.s. Shout out to Joelle Milman for being so funky and adorable. Shout out to Jesse Ostroff for showing me listserve two years ago!!
p.p.s. if anyone has an internship in NYC for a hardworking, outgoing young woman email me! I also would love emails from anyone who wants to share interesting stories!
p.p.p.s Read Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide JUST DO IT
THANKS SO MUCH LISTSERVE! Never thought this day would come...

Olivia Klatch
[email protected]
New York, NY

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