Narrative Paper Assignment
Write a Narrative Essay based on one of the following prompts:
- Think about an event in your life that was life-changing. Your paper should help your readers understand the significance of the event and the impact that it’s had on your life.
A person’s life is made of the experiences he or she has as they go through life. Some experiences reinforce people’s beliefs while other experiences change their whole trajectory and push them to make a change within themselves and their actions. The various events in a person’s life also aid an individual in changing themselves in a meaningful manner. The events also aid them in garnering maturity. In this Narrative essay, I will attempt to describe a situation that completely changed my view on life and changed my way of handling the various issues that I come across every day, because of my identity.
An event that has truly been life-changing for me is the shooting of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Though the event was not an occurrence that happened in my personal life, it still had a huge effect on my intimate life. It changed my outlook on life. Attacks on Black people in America were not an unnatural occurrence. The incident that occurred with George Floyd had happened before with countless Black men and women but at the same time, the collective reaction towards the event made this incident unique in my perspective.
As a Black woman, I have had a variety of experiences because of my race. The law officials look differently towards me, as compared to others. There is always a suspecting view towards me as if I am capable of committing crimes. I am not given the presumption of innocence but doubt. In all group settings, I am always supposed to act in a certain subdued manner. If I am loud or persuasive the connotation attached to me might hurt my career. All of these things were and are a daily occurrence for me, and I have become used to them. I was so used to it that I never questioned it. In a way the Minneapolis incident made me question everything, at least it gave me the space to be inquisitive about everything. As a Black woman, I should not be looked at with suspicion, without any valid cause, and I should be able to express my opinion the way my white counterparts do, without any fear of judgment. The way I and many Black people are forced to live in society is not right. However as years have gone by, this behavior has become normalized. Before George Floyd multiple incidents of wrongful violence occurred against Black people.
It was the nature of this crime that rattled me to my core. This incident happened 2 years after I arrived in America. In those two years, I tried to act as a model citizen following through with every protocol and adjusting myself to the often unfair demands of people around me. I thought that if I followed through with what people around me wanted me to, I wouldn’t be provided the violent treatment. The video changed my perception. The day the video became viral and I came across it, I was kept waiting in a convenience store, as the people there suspected that I had given forfeited notes. I complied with them and when they had been satisfied that no such thing had happened, I was told that I was free to go. I did not protest or make a scene. I did not have any kind of prior history associated with that convenience store that could in any way suggest that I could commit such a crime. White people before me in the line gave notes to the cashier but she did not check them as intently as she checked mine. There was no reason to differentiate between me and those white people, except for my skin color. It hurt me but I kept my mouth shut and did not lodge a complaint, I did not want to cause any kind of discomfort and accuse someone of racism, even though they made me go through something humiliating. After coming home even though I was feeling dejected I did not feel remorse for the way I handled the situation, as I felt that both the parties had come out of it unscathed. The moment I saw the video, my opinion changed. I quickly realized that I did not come out of this situation unscathed, I suffered much more damage than I previously thought. This became clear to me when I saw the cruelty in the eyes of those two policemen. It was not a mistake, it was pure hatred. I realized that by not responding I validated that hatred and let it win over me. The fact that a man was indicted with violence even when he was on the ground shattered my beliefs. The helpless state of the man and how he was still being treated in that state showed clearly that it was not an issue associated with Black individuals but with the authorities and society at large. Therefore, it pushed me to stop compromising and raising my voice against these atrocities. I wanted to raise my voice not only for myself but also for future generations. Violence against Black people is indicted from all aspects. They are discriminated against in institutions; the world is built to be against them. This is clear from laws produced by the ‘War on Drugs’. It was clear that the series of laws were heavily in favor of white people and against Black civilians.
In two years of my arrival in America, there were times when I felt as if I was being discriminated against but I kept my calm and tried to rise above it. The viral video changed my stance. Seeing Floyd struggle like that it seemed as if the air had left my body. It almost felt as if the police officers were relishing his pain. I felt as if I was in Floyd’s position and I was being humiliated with my life at stake. I realized that it is necessary to raise my voice, and it is more important to talk about these injustices than care about someone else’s discomfort. There were times that I did not raise my voice because I was scared that if I had ‘perceived’ the situation wrongly then it could be a source of discomfort. The video made me interact with many people who were in a similar situation to me and handled it in the same way. Ultimately those people suffered from anxiety.
After the video, I consciously raise my voice whenever I feel discriminated against. Every time I go somewhere by airplane, especially to foreign countries, I feel as if people working for airport security pay more attention to me, It has always bothered me, but I never raised my voice. This time during my trip to my home country, I raised my concerns regarding this behavior. Even though the situation got resolved in that place only and did not go to higher authorities, and I also felt as if I was being disruptive, ultimately it made me feel at peace.
This incident and the various interactions that it caused me have made me understand that I need to be more vigilant in this precarious situation, and speak up more. It led me to get more involved with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement which included garnering more information and taking part in the various events organized by the movement. Moreover, in my personal life, I made some significant changes, putting myself and my feelings first rather than what others felt in a social situation. If my instincts imply a certain thing to me then I have learned to act on it, rather than keep it buried inside. I also have begun to be more involved with children in my family, teaching them how they should behave if they encounter a law professional. That video has also given me anxiety regarding that, as even a simple misstep by the Black people can result in horrific consequences.
George Floyd’s shooting was a monumental event in the Black Lives Matter movement. This was essentially because of how intimately it affected every Black individual. I also was affected by the whole situation and seeing it brutally play out in a viral video. The brutality changed how I functioned in my life. I became more vigilant and opinionated about my views and convictions. I also became more adamant about my views regarding my treatment and protection of the children in my family.