2013-06-28 / Columnists

An Intern’s Take

America in Black and White
By Ilyassha Shivers

As a nation and a community one of the greatest obstacles we continue to have to deal with is race and how it affects public policy. This week a popular Food Network personality lost her job because she used the “N” word. Meanwhile down in Florida opening statements are underway in the Trayvon Martin case. Lastly, here in our great city we await the decision for the Stop and Frisk case. There is one common denominator in each one of these situations and that is public perception and how race is dealt with. The “N” word has been used to define a group of people considered inferior and less than human. History has recorded the legal battles and bloodshed surrounding this word. Today young people have tried to take this term and make it a part of their vocabulary unsuccessfully attempting to change the nature of the word.

In Florida, we look at the “Stand Your Ground Law,” that will be used by the defense in the killing of a young man who was said to have an iced tea and a bag of skittles. Lastly, we await the ruling of the constitutionality of the NYPD policy of stop and frisk.

As I read last week’s article by our Councilman from the other side of the peninsula it became clear to me that we are still living in two different realities. How can you praise lower crime statistics yet neglect to mention the number of questionable shootings that have taken place in our city over the last 10 to 15 years.

This past Saturday the community came out to take a stand against the Stop and Frisk policy. The Rockaway Youth Task Force represents a group that is greatly affected by these tactics. We also mark 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King marched on Washington and made the famous “I have a dream” speech. When I look at things in totality I ask myself what happened to that dream? Why are we still dealing with these issues that so many fought and sacrificed their lives for? Sometimes I wonder will we ever get it right. Will my boys grow up in a country where they will be judged by their character rather than the color of their skin? Who knows, but what I do know is that we must continue to fight for what is right and raise our consciousness to change the policies that continue to keep us separated.

Tell me what you think, send your comments and or suggestions to Shiverswave@gmail.com.

More importantly, read The Wave.

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