Posted on: February 25, 2022 Posted by: Marcus Collins Comments: 0

Graphic by Sarah Schudt

Recent news stories have shown that racism is still alive and well in our country. People like me are being profiled just based on how we dress, how we look, and what music we listen to. I would love to go on about my day and not be instantly profiled whenever I enter a public space and be stared at like some creature made for criticism.

Any time I leave a store, the workers never bother to give me the same respect I show them. They never tell me to “have a good day” but when a white shopper walks past them, I can’t miss their loud, “Have a wonderful day” and “Thank you for shopping here.” Just a simple “thank you” or even a kind “hello” would be enough for me, but it never happens. I spend my money at these stores, and the workers are nothing but rude to me, all because of the color of my skin. And the unfortunate part is my experiences are common for many people who look just like me.

Marcus Collins

Photo Editor

Last week, almost two years to the day after Ahmaud Arbery’s life was cut short by three white men pursuing him in pickup trucks, the killers were convicted of a federal hate crime. Arbery was jogging on a sunny day in a Georgia neighborhood when the men, armed with shotguns, ordered him to stop, claiming a citizen’s arrest.

The hate crime conviction is a step in the right direction for racial justice, but we have a long way to go. We still need to reflect to understand why and how people can have so much hatred and racism built up in their minds.

The incident is reminiscent of the KKK during the Jim Crow era when African Americans were hunted down like animals, when even police officers joined in on the killing. Why is it that when a black person is seen in a privileged white neighborhood, they are instantly profiled as thugs and criminals?

You would think that the country would learn from this. But just a few weeks ago, there was another example of racial profiling. In Brookhaven, Mississippi, a 24-year-old African American FedEx driver, Demonterrio Gibson, was delivering packages when he found himself being blocked off and ordered to stop with a gun pointed directly at him. He managed to swerve around the truck blocking the road, and at that point, he heard five gunshots hit his vehicle. If this is not an example of racial profiling and prejudice, then what is it?

FedEx driver Demonterrio Gibson, speaks about his recent experience.

Gibson spoke out on CNN with his attorney, Carlos Moore, saying he was simply attempting to deliver a package. As he was about to drive off from his delivery, he noticed that he was being approached by a white vehicle that suddenly turned to cut him off. He tells CNN that he was able to maneuver and escape the first vehicle.

Upon getting down the street, he noticed another vehicle ahead blocking the road, and a man pointing a gun at him, urging him to stop his delivery van. He managed to also avoid that vehicle and get away, but not before being shot at five times by the man in the road. He was chased out of the city by the two men and he eventually made it away safely. After he reported the incident FedEx placed him on unpaid leave, but after a major public outcry, FedEx reversed the decision. CNN anchor Brianna Keilar pointed out the similarities between Gibson and Arbery’s cases.

“I can definitely see the similarities, and that’s why I feel it’s my responsibility to speak up because Ahmaud Arbery didn’t survive to speak up for himself,” Gibson said. “So I want to take that upon myself to do that for me and him as well.”

The two men who allegedly attacked Gibson are Gregory Case and his son, Brandon Case. They were both charged with felonious attempts to cause bodily injury. After their arrest, they were given the privilege to bond themselves out. They were arrested for less than eight days and there was clear evidence of attempted murder, yet they walked free because they had the money to do so.

Ahmaud Arbery didn’t survive to speak up for himself.”

Demonterrio Gibson

The war against racism is one we are still fighting today. We call ourselves the land of the free, but still, black and brown people are oppressed in this country.

Politicians, citizens, everyone needs to speak up more and denounce racism. Schools should be more open to teaching about the history of racism in the United States. It is a harsh reality we as a nation must face.

It should not be difficult to call out racism and denounce it for what it is. It is pure evil and hatred of each other. But somehow, despite the progress we appear to make, it continues to snake its way through American society. It’s time for us to wake up and make real progress.

It starts with each of us. Maybe one day, people of all races can walk into a store, or jog through the neighborhood, or go about our business, and we can all “have a wonderful day.”