I read a post Not Everything You Read About The Police Is True.
While the author’s argument is not without merit, as a Black mother here are some observations:
1. The manner we teach Black history in this country must change. Teaching the same information repeatedly while leaving out the root cause as well as varied information helps perpetuate the terrorization Blacks feel from the police. To understand how we got here we must understand slavery and all of its ills (forced labor, rape, molestation, abuse, mutilation, breaking up families and killing people). People tend to forget that just because no one was running around yelling “I was a slave”, it doesn’t change the fact that up until about 30 years ago, we had citizens that were either directly affected by slavery (reared by someone that was a slave) or slaves themselves. We must understand that Blacks did not disappear from this country after slavery only to return for the fight for civil rights. We must look at lynchings, Jim Crow, Black Wall Street, Rosewood, the Red Summer, poverty, education (or its lack), denied voting rights, abuses by police, as well as the accomplishments and achievements of Blacks in the United States. Do you really believe we would understand the holocaust if it were not taught to us, despite not being as complicated?
2. We must look at the way police are taught to do their jobs -- whether you call it an "investigative stop", racial profiling, stop and frisk or Driving/Walking while Black, it is a policy that must be stopped. It has no real value in stopping crime and only works to not only harass an entire people, but also alienate and terrorize portions of the community.
3. I am not a criminal as is the case with the vast majority of people I know, but all of us get stopped and harassed by police for no reason.
4. It terrifies me each time my son tells me police have stopped him and put a gun to his head. (I can't even count the occurrences anymore).
5. It terrifies me each time my family and friends tell me horror stories of their encounters with the police. Law abiding citizens who are harassed for no reason other than being born Black.
6. People tend to forget the police force is a governmental agency acting out orders given by the government. The problem is not with the police, it is with the laws created by our government that allows the harassment to continue simply because we are Black. Filing complaints don't work. They get thrown away, misfiled or never investigated. After understanding filing dozens of complaints (esp. when my son was between 13 and 25) was useless, in the end the police lie to protect their illegal actions.
7. I don't know a Black person that has not had his/her 4th amendment rights against illegal search and seizure violated for no reason. Did they have something to hide? No, but it doesn't change the fact that it is done regularly to Black and Latino citizens.
8. The police seem to forget their job is to serve and protect the citizens, not terrorize, harass and kill.
9. Excessive force is not justified by the existence of criminals -- that's the job they signed on for if they don't like it find another field to work.
10. Depending on where you live you can find a diverse police force, but diversity does not stop police from terrorizing and harassing private citizens based on the color of their skin. My son had his cloths torn, got thrown in the mud and made to lay face down in muddy water with a gun to his head by a Black police officer who assumed my son was a gang member, with no license or insurance possessing either a gun or drugs when he was a college student with a license and insurance and no gun or drugs; if he had been a gang member, this officers actions should have still been illegal -- he broke no laws.
There is something inherently wrong with the way police do their jobs. Maybe if we get them out of the cars and walking beats they can get to know their community and their community can get to know them. Because they don't know the communities they work in, they have no sensitivity to the harm they do on a daily basis to those communities.
Do we realize they are human? Yes, unfortunately there is an entire community of people they not only seem to forget is human, but so does everyone else.
We are human. We are people. We are not all criminals (matter of fact the vast majority of us are not criminals, just as it is with Whites, Asians, European, Latinos and any other tax paying citizen). We are tax paying citizens that contribute to the salary they earn. We deserve to be treated with respect, not terrorized.
While I understand that not everything we read about the police is true, not everything you read about Black people is true either, hence the problem.
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