Corruption in the criminal justice system is a facet of our society that has largely been accepted as minorities have historically been shown to get the short end of the stick when it comes to court rulings in the past. No better example of this corruption can be seen than in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial that gained national attention following the defendant's actions in last year's Jacob Blake protests.
In response to the riots transpiring in his father’s home town of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Rittenhouse crossed state lines with his mother and a loaded rifle in an effort to assist in ‘deescalating’ the already chaotic situation. Regardless of whether Rittenhouse’s take on that nights events were truthful or not, it sets a precedent.
Historically speaking, black men and women face higher odds of being convicted for any crime that whites people are. If you were to add an illegal firearm and three dead bodies to that equation, I promise that Keisha or Tasha’s son wouldn’t have made it home to tell the story to Donald Trump on his Marilogo golf estate.
As a matter of fact, had a black man or woman been brandishing an illegal firearm at a Black Lives Matter protest, they likely wouldn’t have made it to see a court date. Whether you want to look at the case of George Floyd, Ahmad Arbury, or Breonna Taylor, it’s apparent that law enforcement views black bodies with guns as expendable, but white people in those same circumstances as heroes.
From my own point of view as a black man, I empathize with the fear of losing your freedom at a young age at the hands of the criminal justice system. But my empathy and tears didn’t free any of the kids I grew up with from their sentences for lesser charges, so neither should they in the case of Kyle Rittenhouse the murderer.
It’s a corrupt system that we’re subject to, and yet, it seems to be working just as intended. Black bodies feed the prison industrial complex or the graveyard, and white bodies with the same crimes see golf resorts with politicians and book deals. It’s not the same, and it must be changed, but as many of my peers have voiced, are we really surprised?