Prominent U.S. Congressmen recently stated that the terrorist group, ISIS, is the country's number one security threat. If so, then why have so many black men been incarcerated or shot down in the streets over the past 60 years? Exemplified by the number of police shootings of men and children of color in 2014, many people today consider a 22-year-old black man to be a more threatening figure than a teenage member of ISIS. Why is this the case? Well, let's take a quick look at our American history.
Since the early days of slavery (and believe me, no one wants to start a paragraph using those words), it had been instilled in the minds of slave owners and slave traders that a successful slave revolt would be absolutely devastating. Just like an animal in the zoo; black men, women and children were bound in chains in order for their captors to force their will upon them. Maximized security was a part of life's necessities for the slave owner. To this day, it's still shocking to think that humans would capture and enslave other human being. It's just as mind-blowing to think that such action and behavior is still minimized in unapologetic fashion.
Nevertheless, slave owners would often remind one another of the importance of handling their slaves. Fathers would tell sons to refrain from playing with enslave children in effort to build distrust for their perceived enemy. Nightmarish stories were told to family members in effort to rid feelings of compassion for slaves. In a nutshell, dark people were bad and could not be trusted. To this day, this form of thinking exists in the core of folks for such foolishness was passed down from generation to generation.
As a result, blacks remain incarcerated at an ridiculously high rate in a country that houses more prisoners than any nation in the world. Unarmed blacks have been seen on video murdered by police based upon training that perceives blacks are dangerous. This is a manner which is indeed no different than how blacks were handled centuries ago. Meanwhile, terrorist groups are recruiting and training soldiers with instructions to capture or kill for reasons chiefly based upon hatred.
How is it that a youth with a gun and a mask seems less threatening than a black youth wearing a t-shirt and jeans? The problem is that many have been bred to think that way. The problem is that people take pride in being prejudice because somehow it feels good to think that you're better than someone else. The problem is that this belief of maintaining hate has yet to go away. Time has proven to be ineffective in washing away this stain that was created so very long ago; and even more concerning is the fact that we are running out of solutions to resolve a problem that has existed for over 400 years.