The Pressures of Society, By Kiersten Smith
The Pressures of Society
By Kiersten Smith
Don’t shoot. Two words that young African American people wish to never have leave their mouths. Words that hold almost no power and send waves of fear through our bodies. Heart beats racing, palms sweaty, hoping we won’t take our last breath in that very moment. In today’s society as an African American male or female, we walk around with targets on our backs. We become suspicious the moment we step into a building, no matter where it is, school, stores, and even restaurants. The sudden gazes given by others, the securing of personal belongings. Those little things don’t go unnoticed.
In this world, the crime rate of African American teens and adults has only increased over the years. Growing up around the amount of unnecessary crime to my brothers and sisters has only made me distant from this world I live in. This isn’t our world, we exist as a part of it. Everyday is a struggle, from the whimpering of combing my natural hair to the fear that flows through my body everytime I step outside. We are seen as a mass of rowdy people, trouble treading close behind the heels of our feet with every step we take. To us, we are brother and sister, coming together only in a time of injustice to our people. We continuously resort to violence, even when unnecessary, punishing ourselves and other, sometimes without clear reasoning. Feelings of hurt and confusion run through our veins like blood, making us prisoners to crime. As one we yell and shout that crime must stop, yet we inflict pain upon our own kind.
Us, African American teens, are being raised and exposed to the incarcerations of the people we look up to, our friends and families. Over time it has made me realize the extensive amount of damage and pressure that is being applied to thousands of young teens everyday. Yes, we look different, come from different backgrounds, and have different personalities, but in some ways more than others we are one in the same. Brother and sister. Living under the same roof society built for us.