Once Upon a Time…And Now

Written by Killian Yeatts

Edited by Latif Torres-Robinson

Once upon a time in the final hours of July 24, 1900, in New Orleans, Louisiana, three officers accosted two Black males for no reason other than the color of their skin. In a wrongful attempt to arrest the two men, one of the officers held his gun to the face of one of the Black men, while another officer bashed Mr Charles (the other Black man) in the head.

Unknown to the police, however, Mr. Charles had a gun in his possession. Out of self-defense, Mr. Charles pulled out his revolver, and began shooting at the assaultive cop, hitting the officer in the hip. The gunman then fled. By doing this, Mr. Charles knew he had sealed his fate; his life was forfeited.

Mr. Charles didn’t foresee how his actions would later impact his fellow African-Americans. Taking matters into their own hands, an ire of White citizens marched the streets to find the perpetrator. They beat every Black male in sight until they found Mr. Charles.

Sharp as a marksman, Mr. Charles killed multiple law enforcers as they tried to apprehend him. Eventually Mr. Charles was killed. Because he tried to share knowledge to his people by pamphlet, the authorities labeled him a terrorist.

History is bound to a repeat itself. Not too long ago in Minneapolis, a White police officer murdered an unarmed Black man – he yanked him out of his car, forced him to the ground, and knelt down on the man’s neck for 9 minutes. The officer took the life of a beloved father.

To say this story effects me is an understatement. It’s 120 years later, yet the local news’ headline is more of the same: “unarmed Black man killed by police.” Being able to experience these similar injustices is disturbing; moreover, to see how different ethnic groups have yet come to love, accept, and unite as one nation, under God … and you know the rest.

Learning about past and present struggles of minorities makes me feel ashamed as a White man. How do we as humans treat each other in such a harsh fashion? As of date, there has been very little change – barely enough to make a difference. There’s still too much hate and evil in our diverse society; for example, use your smartphone and scroll down social media posts, and you’ll see how cruel we can be to each other.

It’s also a reality check that there’s officers of the law who have prejudices. How ignorant! Persecuting, dehumanizing, or ostracizing a race because of their skin is one of the most asinine acts a person can do. But here we are. It’s 2021 yet we still have a demographic that isn’t afforded equal opportunities.

Minorities are held back in various areas of society: education, employment, healthcare, etc. A lot of this is because minorities are brought up in urban communities or impoverished neighborhoods. With inhumane inequalities and injustices that are reminiscent of the past, history will repeat itself.

How do you feel about inequality and injustice?

A note from Latif Torres-Robinson:

What a great topic! A couple days ago, one of the college students I tutor asked me to edit his work. “Latif, tell me what you think, you know, edit it for me,” Killian said. Inspired by a previous conversation about racism, Killian boldly shared some of his inner-thoughts on paper. Despite the editing load I foreseen, I really liked what I read. My wish is that one day, all humans – Black, White, Brown, Other – educate themselves, so they’ll understand that there’s only one race – the human race. Given the sensitive nature yet relevant subject, I felt compelled to share this story with everyone.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash