On My Soapbox: The world we live in

This column represents the thoughts and opinion of Jason Hennington. This is NOT the opinion of the Taylor Press.

There is so much going on right now that it is hard to believe the world we live in. From COVID-19 to virtual graduations to social distancing to murder hornets to a world with no Kobe Bryant, it is indeed hard to comprehend.

If things couldn’t get any worse, a video surfaced of an unarmed black man getting shot and killed in Georgia. Just based on preliminary information and the video, it appears Ahmad Aubrey was out for a jog and was shot and killed. I watched the video, and he tried to run around the truck in the middle of the road and was still attacked. During the video, you can hear three gunshots and see Aubrey drop dead on the scene. The father and son in the video, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis, who appear to attack Aubrey claimed he looked like a suspect from several burglaries in the area.

Aside from the obvious shooting of an unarmed man in daylight on suspicion, this happened in February. The two men were just arrested this week.

Race should not be a factor. Unfortunately, I believe it is in this situation. I’m sure African Americans — among other nationalities — are saying, “If the shooters were black, they would be in jail or dead already.”

The harshest part is that’s probably true. Gregory McMichael is a former police officer, so it looks like he still has connections that could possibly cover this situation up.

Regardless if it is tied to race, previous occupations or whatever, it’s wrong. An unarmed man was shot and killed while he was jogging. If he was a suspect, call the police and let them deal with it the right way.

That’s not what happened. McMichael and his son decided to go rouge, and they got away with it for two months.

I’ve seen several social media posts about the incident and the effect it’s had on society. One of the saddest posts I saw was a list of things black people can’t do because they could lose their lives. The list included jog, legally own a gun, relax at home, walk home with Skittles, walk from a corner store, go to church and more.

This is the world we live in: an incident can change the atmosphere of society at the drop of a dime. Since March, everyone has just wanted to go back outside. After the last few weeks, I wonder if it is safer to just stay home? And, I don’t mean specifically as a black man. I mean just as a person.

Are we to continue living in fear?

I won’t. I’ll just continue living.

In this world we live in, COVID-19, virtual graduations, murder hornets and the shooting of an unarmed man (regardless of race) should all fall in the same category – out of the ordinary.

I’m going to get off my soapbox now, but first I want to wish every mother a Happy Mother’s Day. Make sure your husbands or sons wash your cars and clean the kitchen this weekend.

“Fear stands for, false evidence of appearing real.”

- Pharrell Williams from the song, “Smile”

(1) comment


Jason thank you for writing about the injustice of this murder and lending your voice to shed light on an unjust murder. I have to point out something I hope you consider as you write about future incidents with racial undertones as this situation clearly has. Black people live with an undercurrent of fear while trying to lead a normal life in Amercia. Black people know and raise black children to know that one WILL (not might,) encounter situations where one won't be treated justly simply on the basis of skin color. You said you'll go on living, but for some, incidents like this chip away at the hope that maybe, just maybe all of the social and political progress we've made as a country will somehow birth an era of racial equality. Incidents like this quickly slap America back to reality of there being more work to do to shift the mental model non-minorities have regarding minorities. I urge you to use internet platforms to shed light on racial injustices when you see them, call it for what is is. Glossing over the fact that people treat each other differently because of the social constructs we've built doesn't help in undoing the hatred it inherently bestows. I also urge you to read about diveristy, equity and inclusion content Dr Taharee starting with a recent article she wrote that you'll hopefully find enlightening. Jason your heart and talent are rightly aligned to help being healing. Take it a step further by lending your voice to the cause of racial equality on behalf of your fellow brown Americans who need you. https://medium.com/@drtaharee/im-white-and-i-m-outraged-by-ahmaud-arbery-s-murder-now-what-247dba493bca

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