OPINION: One cannot judge a group based on the acts of a few

Asia Porter | Online Editor

An individual does not define an entire group.

Racial and religious tensions have grown to be more prevalent throughout the year. Police brutalities against black men and women have the black community calling for justice. Additionally, attacks on Americans by Islamic extremists have created a sense of Islamophobia in the nation. These select cases, however, do not accurately reflect their respective communities or profession as a whole.

In July, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were shot and killed at the hands of police. Twitter was outraged, calling for the officers responsible to be punished. Lines were drawn, suggesting you were either on the side of the police or on the side of blacks. Police officers were made out to be racist men and women who wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger at the site of any minority, but the fact of the matter is, there are more cops that act with morals and protect citizens than there are that senselessly kill them.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said approximately 900,000 new officers are sworn in each year. In 2015, officers killed 346 blacks in what were considered police brutalities. So far in 2016, they have killed 217. While this number is alarming, if you take into account the number of police officers in the nation, you’ll find not every officer is mindlessly shooting. Not even close. Only accounting for the 900,000 new officers each year, would mean 0.0384 percent of officers each year commit a brutality against an African American, and that number would be even smaller if you take into account every police officer and not just those newly sworn in.

In September, Ahmad Khan Rahami was charged for the bombings in New York and New Jersey. The bombings further emphasized the threat facing the nation regarding extremists, but they also further strengthened the nation’s Islamophobia. The fear in Americans took off following the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and continues to grow now with the rise of ISIS and terrorist attacks throughout the nation. Muslims are often labeled as the enemy and face the repercussions of radical acts by a small percentage of their population. Yes, extremism exists, and yes, the threat of ISIS is real, but not all Muslims fall under this category.

A study by the University of North Carolina showed that out of all Americans that have been killed since 9/11, 37 of them (less than 0.0002 percent) were killed by Muslims. CNN estimates around 106,000 individuals identify with Islamic terrorist organizations. While that number is high, one has to put that number into perspective. There are around 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. That means, only about 0.00662 percent of Muslims go along with extremist groups.

If you’re going to assume all cops are racist and all blacks hate cops and all Muslims are terrorists, then you might as well assume all blondes have blue eyes and all tall people play basketball and all Ohioans live on a farm. Cops do kill innocent civilians, but they also play basketball with the neighborhood children and protect countless Americans every day. Muslims do commit acts of terror, but they also win Nobel Peace Prize awards and wish the best for the nation just as any other American would.

It’s ridiculous to judge a community based on the acts of one individual. Racism and prejudice thrive on assumptions. To eliminate these two from society, we must first learn to judge every individual independently and by their own actions.

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