Is the Queen Losing Her Crown: Reflecting on Charlotte's Police Shootin
The lush, one-hundred-year-old green trees that form a canopy, picture perfect three million dollar homes, and shiny Range Rovers parked in the drive: my commute to Myers Park High School every morning showcased the privilege of the side of town that I grew up in.
I studied abroad my junior year of high school in Argentina, and my friends often asked of the racial divides in this country. I explained that most of the racism was far behind us, and if any racially charged sentiments still existed, they certainly weren’t in my city. Instead, I told of how excellent our public education system was, of the wealth, and of the excellent diversity our city had to offer. At Birmingham-Southern College, I described to my friends the incredible luxury of South Park Mall, of the divine restaurants, and of how much the city had grown in recent years.
When the news of Keith Lamont Scott’s death spread on the web, I was shocked. Suddenly I began to question if I had been wrong about where I came from- if I had missed something. The truth is that I had been blinded by my privilege. I knew that no one wanted to move to the other side of town because the schools were not as good, but I had never taken the initiative to look further into the issue.
I never thought that our city would join the list of landmarks of the Black Lives Matter movement. I never believed that Charlotte’s police possessed the same prejudice as those who had killed unarmed black men. My heart is broken for Scott’s loved ones who lost a father, a son, and a friend. I am angered that the officers who are supposed to defend my city killed an unarmed man. Through this great loss, I am so proud of those who have taken to the streets in protest, especially of the students at UNCC, and of those who have shared their desires for change in our city. I wish for a voice to be given to those who are so often forgotten and for the plight of those who experience institutional racism every day to be improved.
But most of all, I hope for those who do not see the divides in their town to look around them. Racism is prevalent in every corner of this country, and even if it does not affect you, stand up for those who suffer. Demand change in the system, protest in the streets, and contact policy makers, as this is the only way that change has ever been made in this country. If you are an ally, share the story of those who have been affected. If you are a victim, share your experiences. Do not be silent until the rules have been rewritten.
The truth is, the illusion of our royal city overpowered my better judgement and my nostalgia blinded me. I encourage others to go to the other side of town, to start a conversation, and to demand change.
Featured Image via Unsplash/ Matt Popovich
About the Author:
Victoria is a senior at Birmingham-Southern College from Charlotte, NC. Her major is Global and Comparative Studies with a focus on Latin America. She is the Hispanic Heritage Month Chair on the Cross Cultural Committee.