For any white people who don’t understand why Black people are upset about the Rittenhouse verdict, this lack of understanding points to what many Black people are saying: we are living in two different Americas.
I am not willing to say justice was achieved in this case. From what I understand, the laws protecting people who claim “self-defense” are laws that allow for the killing of innocent people, and they deserve scrutiny. And while perhaps there’s a technical way Rittenhouse was not guilty of the homicide counts, I don’t understand how walking around with an AR-15 and then using said rifle to kill two people and injure a third is not considered “reckless endangerment.”
Even if justice was achieved, it is incredibly difficult to imagine that the same verdict would have been reached if Kyle Rittenhouse were not a white person.
I want to live in a country where Black teenagers and white teenagers are treated with the same respect, the same scrutiny, the same compassion, the same acknowledgment that life is messy and uncertain.
The onus is on those of us who are white to seek to understand why many of our fellow Americans who are Black understand this trial as a mistrial and a reckoning on the American legal system.
And the onus is on us to use whatever power we have to change the system of justice so that it is a system of justice for all.
We should all live in an America where we expect justice to be done in every courtroom.
Learn more with Amy Julia:
- How Can White People Respond With Love to the Derek Chauvin Verdict?
- Things I’ve Learned One Year After George Floyd’s Death
- Praying for the End of White Supremacy
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