I was born in 1970 when the world was in transition. I experienced racism as a child but not like my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, etc. but I did. I knew it was part of my life and I just went with the flow and didn’t take it to heart too much. As I got older, I saw fewer and fewer incidents against me and in general. Racially based actions seemed to take a nap for a long while and weren’t in the forefront as much as they are again. However, since President Barack Obama’s election, the first and second time, I have experienced 4x the racism I ever did! I personally have been called the N-word and treated as if I do not exist. I make a phone call to arrange a meeting or purchase something at my local merchant and upon arrival, the previous telephone conversations NEVER HAPPENED. I speak the Queens English because I took advantage of the education provided me. People have no idea I am black until I arrive. It shouldn’t matter what I sound like on the phone. I am trying to spend money in these establishments. The reactions are some I’ve seen before which range from shock and dismay to complete outrage. However, there is a new element to the shock and dismay. The people become embarrassed at their reactions to me and apologize profusely for not realizing how ingrained racism is in their psyche. I have seen countless videos of the police throwing people to the ground for saying what’s on their mind. A judge told me once an officer as a public servant has a sworn duty to protect and serve and take all the verbal abuse thrown at them. He stated I could say anything I wanted to a police officer as long as I didn’t lay my hands on or spit on them. The judge said this in response to a ticket that I was given for disorderly conduct by an officer who was mad I wouldn’t sleep with him! I told the officer to go F*** himself! The judge dismissed the ticket and scolded the officer for abusing his power. Another instance of police overstepping is racial profiling. I had long braids at one time and I used to wear a lot of sporty outfits. I was pulled over by an officer who claimed I was driving with my headlights off. They weren’t off but I was in a part of town where blacks are not welcome and are often pulled over and harassed with nonsense tickets. Fast forward a few months later, when my court date arrived, the ticket was again dismissed because the officer could not identify me. The braids were out, I had a business suit on, and it was daylight! I, along with my attorney, giggled because it was a clear case of profiling. Luckily, this officer wasn’t stupid enough to commit perjury. I could go on and on with stories of police overstepping and abusing the “power” they think comes with a badge and a gun.
In my un-humble opinion, I think we awakened a dragon that was content with blacks playing sports and making a lot of money doing it, small governmental positions were ok as well, a smattering of military generals, and a few Presidential Cabinet roles thrown in for good measure while keeping the status quo. However, to elect a black person to the highest office in this once great land of ours apparently crossed the line. So much so, instead of signaling that America had finally moved past our past, it ignited an entirely new upheaval of racism that is upon us. The violence that has been perpetrated on young black males, and some females in recent years by people in authority, those pretending to be in authority, and people scared of their own shadow is just as bad, if not worse than the previous Civil Rights Movement (Fight). People, not of color, cannot hide their disdain for President Barack Obama and continually disrespect him and the Executive Office of which he is in charge. Racism is ingrained into our society. Always has been and I fear always will be. This country and its Constitution never included blacks. The U.S. did make strides to rectify racism but it has only been 50 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. 50 years isn’t a whole lot of time considering this country is just 238 years old. It seems in just a few short years the rights afforded by the Civil Rights Act have all but been erased by the increasing violence against blacks. Some would blame the media for only focusing on racism and nothing else but I read news outlets from around the globe and have searched the Internet for young unarmed whites being gunned down in the street. There are VERY few instances. My question is, what did blacks do historically that would cause such hatred? Is there karma that pre-dates slavery that we as a people continually have to pay for? When will this hatred end? The only other race of people to have such hatred thrown their way is the indigenous people who were here before the Pilgrims and anyone else! Racist can’t claim ignorance because ignorance can be educated away. There have been so many blacks that have done great things while the dragon was asleep so you can no longer claim blacks to be an inferior race of people. So it has to be hatred in its purest form to ignite such violence. I have some law enforcement training but chose to continue on a different path but while I was in the world of law enforcement, I learned a few things about taking down a suspect in a non-violent manner. I was taught by a veteran police officer that deadly force is the last resort. There are other means to take down a suspect such as pepper spray, Tasers, and self-defense tactics that incapacitate the suspect. If a suspect looks as if he is going to fire on officers, they can still shoot to wound and not shoot to kill. If a suspect has his hands raised, one officer holsters his gun to place the suspect in handcuffs while the other still has his gun trained on the suspect. Once the suspect is in handcuffs, ALL officers are supposed to holster their weapons with the safety on as not to cause accidental discharge and wound the officer or the suspect. But this is not what is happening. Officers are emptying their guns into suspects without trying to diffuse an already volatile situation. Obtaining military gear to fight citizens of the United States of America is tantamount to Nazi Germany or other dictatorships. The United States is supposed to be a democracy and not a dictatorship. The citizens of this country, more especially black citizens are not the enemy and shouldn’t be viewed as such! I often hear in various press conferences, “The officer was afraid for his life.” NO! Police officers are sworn to protect and serve! They are supposed to be willing to lay down their life in the scope of protecting and serving! You NEVER hear Fire personnel saying, “I didn’t run into that burning building because I was afraid for my life.” NO! They run in and save whoever is in trouble! You don’t hear of military personnel running away from the fray! If they did, this country would have NEVER happened! Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure all these people are afraid and I believe a healthy amount of fear is warranted. But these jobs are service professions and you should have the sense to know there is a certain amount of danger involved. To be that fearful means you need to find another profession! If you are that afraid and that fear causes you to shoot first and ask questions later, AGAIN, FIND ANOTHER JOB! Clearly, law enforcement has forgotten what it means to protect and serve.
Is there a solution? Yes! Two words: Transparency and Accountability. Both sides need to add these words to their vocabulary! Black people need to “police” their own neighborhoods and quit acting out the stereotypes we so often see. Neighborhood watch groups in cooperation with law enforcement would do wonders for blacks to build trust. We need to value ourselves and stop the violence against each other over drugs or turf that we don’t even own! I understand the need to lash out and feeling the need to burn down the status quo but why cut off your nose to spite your face? Burning buildings and looting isn’t the answer. By doing so, blacks are sending a message that every negative and racist thing ever said or thought about blacks is true. It negates anything we as a race have accomplished! It tells the world we don’t value ourselves so why should anyone else? We need quit living as slaves in our mind and begin living as free. We need not punish all for the sins of a few. We need to educate ourselves about our rights. Yes, we as former Africans lost our identity, but the one we have created for ourselves in response to racism clearly isn’t working! Law enforcement agencies need to be transparent in all their dealings with the public. Especially the black public. There needs to be community involvement with thoughtful interaction between law enforcement and the people they serve. They need to be accountable for their actions and not given a pass just because they wear a uniform and carry a gun. Anytime there is a police shooting of any kind but more especially of a black person, the officer’s supervisor needs to arrive on the scene as quickly as possible. Other police need to arrive with PEACE keeping on their minds NOT CONTROL on their minds. Once the smoke has cleared, a law enforcement panel, made up of State and Federal officials, needs to be convened to make sure no civil rights were violated and that there was truly probable cause and not just because this person was black and needed to be put down like a dog in the street. Law enforcement needs to cease viewing blacks as the enemy and begin viewing us as the citizens they are sworn to protect and serve. They need to lose the assumptions because we all know that word begins with “ass!” Another word that could be added is Understanding. Both sides need to understand each other as humans. Proverbs 4:1-13 instructs us to gain understanding in all we say and do. Maybe, just maybe, if these three words are incorporated in our everyday existence and we quit looking at superficial things such as skin color, we could truly move past our racist past and coexist peacefully without all this racial strife.