Public Enemy

  • Black Americans have been vilified and criminalized the entirety of American history.
  • It all started shortly after the abolishment of slavery and has maintained its strength through present day.
  • In light of recent events, Syd shines a light on the ways in which this is happening, and how we move forward.

The vilification and criminalization of African American persons has been persistent, to say the least. Racism in America has not disappeared— only taken a more “socially acceptable” form. With social acceptability comes denial; with denial comes ignorance; and with ignorance comes complicity and complacency. In light of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breona Taylor, and George Floyd, it is important to realize these events are nothing new, isolated, nor mere coincidence that they were black.

The criminalization of African Americans -especially African American men- started shortly after the abolishment of slavery with the Thirteenth Amendment. Slavery was made unconstitutional… except as punishment for a crime. The narrative spread of African American men as violent, a danger to pure white women. The irony of it all though was that the majority of the interracial rape those who pushed that narrative feared was done by white men against the constantly adultified black woman and girls. This criminalization and vilification continued through the civil rights movement. Black men were constantly overrepresented as felons through the media. With this overrepresentation came a subconscious false pretense of the inherent criminality of African Americans at large. They became, the public enemy. Being black became a crime in the minds of the public and of the criminal justice system.

These cases— are nothing new, we have seen the lynching of black and brown people under the pretense of assumed guilt, for as long as this country has been around, yet people find ways to deny that these recent cases have anything to do with race at all.

The most recent expression of this assumed criminality by the justice system was with George Floyd. A video recently surfaced of Floyd’s death. He laid motionless under the violent chokehold of a police officer, two more held him down. The video is gut-wrenching; Floyd continued to say that he was unable to breathe. Many noted that video was reminiscent of one Eric Garner -also murdered by the police- who was killed during his arrest because he had a “suspicious” look… Floyd was suspected of forgery and did not resist arrest— yet then officer Chauvin and his three counterparts were persistent in their efforts, he choked Floyd for nearly the entirety of the seven-minute video.

Floyd was suspected of forgery -and was executed without trial- his guilt was assumed.

This kind of blatant racism does not only exist in law enforcement cases like Floyd’s, Garner’s, and Taylor’s— it extends to everyday hate crimes as well.

Ahmaud Arbery was murdered in February, while he was jogging. His murderers claimed that they thought Arbery was committing thefts in the area, -once again… criminalization- but when the video went viral seventy-four days later, the justice system could no longer ignore.

These cases— are nothing new, we have seen the lynching of black and brown people under the pretense of assumed guilt, for as long as this country has been around, yet people find ways to deny that these recent cases have anything to do with race at all.

To remedy this epidemic, the first call to action is the abolishment of the double standard. “Innocent until proven guilty,” needs to begin applying to all persons. It means undoing the hundreds of years of complacence and ignorance of overt racism— but it is not impossible. We need to start making it known that black lives matter— because truly, it never was established.

Only $1/click

Submit Your Ad Here

Syd Mitchell

Syd is an opinion and political journalist with communal news. She began writing at the ripe age of seven and has not stopped since. Her political journey though, started in 2016, following the presidential election.

7 thoughts to “Public Enemy”

  1. Well written again but just with many base facts are just not true. It looking only through a race based lenses.

    Dr Martin Luther King wanted us to judge – Not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character –

    Syd your a good writer but your focused is on skin color and not the content of peoples character, Was the policemen in Minneapolis bad – of course – but so was the rioting, stealing and arson. All of those involved with crimes should be prospected, with equal justice. We should have Right vs Wrong and this needs to apply to everyone no matter the what skin color is.

    I think you need to stop judging from a race focused window, because in my mind it only hurts the cause your fighting for. Using an injustice as a indirect tool to rewards and embrace more injustice is just also very wrong, and this also hurts completely innocent people in this case many small business were burned. Destroying someone livelihood is in no way the right path to correct someones wrongful death
    MLK — — ” It is always the right time to do the right thing” and this should apply to a public forum also

    1. R D, I appreciate your critiques, but, the way in which racism and prejudice of any sort are surpassed is not through seeing the world in gray (not seeing color) but by recognizing our differences -in culture, race, heritage, etc.- and seeing the beauty of all. More than half of the US’s history was dependent on the enslavement of an entire race; simply forgetting that fact and the products of it, does nothing advance any goal of equality. As for the facts of my article you believe to be wrong, it would be really helpful for you to state any specifics you came across.
      Thank you so much for your feedback,

  2. “vilification and criminalization of African American persons has been persistent”, – Your opening comments — I have never seen it —–“who going to vilify old friends and family”‘

    You claim “More than half of the US’s history was dependent on the enslavement of an entire race; simply forgetting that fact and the products of it, does nothing advance any goal of equality”

    you claim victim hood in a time period in which you never lived. (every religion, every Jewish person has been a victim under your assumptions). Indian, Asians almost everyone roots reaching bake to unethical period judged by today standards. Gee what happen to the Jewish people in the 1930-40 was one of our worlds darkest monuments. By your arguments the Jewish are by far a global bigger victim than blacks.

    No one is denying the facts, but you using a bases today from many generations in the past which is also wrong. America elected a black president in our lives. Twice. MLK is a hero, I grew up 1 block from Rosa Parks street – your using the past, to be a be victim today, this is taking down not building up a race.

    PS I do think your a good writer. I wish you would use your skill make black improvements into hero articles, not victim, and you would have more readers, and make race improvements much faster

    1. RD, the criminalization and vilification of African Americans are factually sound -I can attest to this not only as an African American myself who has experienced it, but through statistics that consistently example black people as disproportionately incarcerated -despite the fact that black and white individuals commit crime at around the same rate-. To say that something does not exist because you personally have not seen, or experienced it, is without merit. An entire race of people were subjugated and dehumanized for centuries. It would be astonishing if we magically progressed to complete equality in the matter of a few decades. Many who experienced Jim Crowe laws are alive today, and still experiencing its effects. Just because we have progressed, does not mean racism has disappeared— otherwise, I and those I know would not be experiencing it on a daily basis. -I appreciate your input- Your feedback consist majorly of opinion and I understand you may like to see a different viewpoint—
      but, understanding the hardships of ourselves and each other, as well as moving foreword, is apart of the journey.
      Thank you,

  3. Your quote – I and those I know would not be experiencing it on a daily basis.

    I adopted a back skin girl and she told me she has NEVER seen any racism. She told me she is bother more and feels more society stress because she is short. She in under 5 feet tall.

    I am a white man, raising and loving a black child, being her parent now for over 20 years, shopping, soccer games, plays, dancing, parties, taking her to college. I have never seen it, or even herd rumors about your daily racism and where are the hardships?.

    We were warned when we adopted, the warning and training was required with a mixed race adoptions, the problems, racism, and hardships they never materialized. But you claim, it is a daily event, how come my mixed race family has never EVER witnessed it ?

    Now that she is in college, because of her heritage, she has received a couple of special scholarships, as the private school she is attending is reaching out to welcoming diversity. Our family is currently being financially rewarded because of her diversity, again, that is happening today, we in no way see this as any vilification and criminalizing of us.

    We do not see this as a broken system, we see her race as a blessing.

    PS she loves her school.

    1. R D, if your daughter has never experienced racism, that is good for her, I am glad if she has not, but regardless, that does not dismantle nor delegitimize racism of many levels experienced by others.
      I wish you and your family the very best,

Leave a Reply