March 2- Erin Simard

I found this image (on page 135) to be incredibly striking. There is something in its intentional simplicity, as well as its emphasis on innocence in the foreground in tandem with and almost despite the chaotic background, that drew my attention. After taking several minutes to analyze why this depiction in particular caught my attention, I discovered a few reasons.

First, the depiction of a child juxtaposed against a large, white officer, symbolizes the systems which uphold white privilege. Everything- from the officer’s sheer size, to his position looking down on the young girl, to his narrowed eyes, and the gun on his belt- serves to symbolize the dominance and privilege that both his occupation and his skin color affords him. Furthermore, his role in punishing the children represents the white Americans who chose to use their agency and privilege to ignore and punish black Americans instead of assisting them in their fight.

Second, the dark clouds and unending line of children filing into a police car emphasize how disturbing it is that such a basic demand- to be treated as human and afforded the basic rights that humans deserve, “F’eedom”- could be received with such outrage and violence by white Americans and the American government.

Lastly, the image stretches to each corner of the page, with the attention being drawn directly to the scene between the child and the officer, which seems to represent not only how significant the exchange is, but also how the image is unfortunately one that has become evergreen. This image is not one that is unfamiliar to me; rather, it is one that has appeared over and over again in the media. When I first viewed the image, it immediately reminded me of the second image I have posted above, which depicts a woman, Ieshia Evans, boldly facing two white police officers in silence during a Black Lives Matter in Baton Rouge. Unfortunately, the most haunting message of this image is one that reoccurs many times throughout the novel: what was started by the Civil Rights Movement is nowhere near finished. Though these images look different now and occur in different contexts, the struggle to be recognized as equal has remained relevant for over 150 years.

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