“Because, ultimately, if you can rebuild trust between communities and the police departments that serve them, that helps us solve crime problems. That will make life easier for police officers. They will have more cooperation. They will be safer. They will be more likely to come home. So it would be good for crime-fighting and it will avert tragedy.”
That statement is the main reason (well, one of the main reasons) why I don’t respect President Obama. He, like most Black Symbols, speak from the perspective of how things should be and not from the perspective of how things are; the illusion of inclusion is the only reason as to why I think that is. But there has never been any trust between the Black community and the police. If Obama was anchored in the Black American experience he would know that, but he’s not…so I digress.
I tried to take somewhat of a hiatus from social media just to detox from the Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Dallas shooting that happened within the same week. I figured since I was mentally and emotionally damaged from watching those horror stories online, that logging off for a while would help me repair. It didn’t. Because throughout the month of July and going into August, news broke out that the Baltimore police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray had been cleared, 23-year-old Korryn Gaines was shot and killed by Baltimore police (her 5-year-old son was shot also but survived), and 18-year-old Paul O’Neal was killed by Chicago police the same week as Gaines. Please read up on those recent stories if you haven’t already, but while you’re reading, just be mindful of one thing: You can’t escape or ignore this because, unfortunately, this trend will probably continue. The trend that is the killing of black lives at the hands of the police will continue until black lives are valued by the police, and that’s going to require a complete shift in the mindset of everyone. For those of you who feel that the noise being made about blacks (mostly black men) that are killed by police officers is just a cry for attention, let’s take a look at some numbers.
- 1,502 people have been shot and killed by the police since January 1, 2015.
- 732 were white, 381 were black, and 382 were of another race
- There are nearly 160 million more white people in America than there are blacks.
- White people make up roughly 62% of the U.S. population.
- 49% of those who are killed by police
- Black people account for 13% of the U.S. population.
- 24% of those shot and killed by the police
- Police have shot and killed 175 young, black men (between the ages 18 to 29) since January 2015; police have shot and killed 172 young, white men.
- Black men make up just 6% of the nation’s population.
If you don’t see an imbalance regarding the comparison of blacks and whites killed by the police, within a year’s time, you’re just blind to reality. And if your only rebuttal is that “black people need to stay out of trouble and stop being so violent,” shut up. Blacks don’t commit violent acts any more than whites, and the last time I’ve checked, police officers weren’t the judge, jury, and executioner. So why so trigger happy? Going into the debate about racial biases would just be beating a dead horse at this point because we all are aware of American history and the stigma that comes with being black. I mean, just Google the Civil Rights Movement and you’ll see plenty of footage of blacks being clubbed, hosed, and beat up by police officers during those peaceful protests.
Listen, I’m not trying to just state the obvious but I am trying to encourage everyone to start telling the truth. This is a problem. This problem isn’t anything new, but with the advent of social media, the immense trauma that these incidents are inflicting on us (especially our children) is and it needs to stop. As a Black man, the fear and defeatedness that my community has towards the police is just numbing at this point. Which is a heartbreaking, because it contradicts everything that symbols like President Obama says in regards to freedom in the United States. I don’t feel free. And as a man who was brought up aware of the survival tactics that is respectability politics, pretending to be free is something that I am tired of doing. I want to know what it’s like to not fear the very people who are hired to protect and serve me as well as the people who look like me. And if I can’t experience that, then I would want my kids (that I will have someday) to experience it.
Until Next Time…
Lowery, W. (2016, July 11). Aren’t more white people than black people killed by police? Yes, but no. Retrieved August 7, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/11/arent-more-white-people-than-black-people-killed-by-police-yes-but-no/?utm_term=.b3acbd990661