Every day in America the police continue to violate the rights of black and brown people. It’s quite disturbing how they can casually shoot and violate the rights of our community without any consequences. Day after day, more stories come out with obvious wrong-doings by the police but nothing is done and there is not a system put in place to do the check and balances of this corrupt system. Officers kill people of color daily and go on with life per usual and in most if not all cases still have their jobs. The police kill black and brown people without any reason or thought; they treat us worse than animals. Our tax dollars do not work for us but rather against us, we fund a system that was designed to keep us under control and to dominate and violate our rights. What is justice? The word justice is manipulated differently and in most cases is dependent upon color. The word “justice” is a cover of protection to a system that has been established in racist beliefs and upholds them to this day.
With more and more police incidents turning into black people dying it makes you have to question everything you do when you interact with the police. For example, I saw this video of a white man telling an officer if he had his gun he would shoot him and the officer did not even make an arrest, let alone pull out his gun because he was “threatened”. In general, white people have pointed guns at cops and were not shot but arrested and taken to jail. However, they justify killing unarmed black people particularly men in case after case. Take Philando Castle who was exercising his 2nd amendment right and told the officer when he was pulled over that he had a gun. After his admission, the officer then asked him to get his license and as he reached to get it for the officer he was shot multiple times with his girlfriend and young daughter in the car. That officer looked for any reason to kill Philando Castle which not only took an innocent’s man life but also robbed his girlfriend of her man and their child of being raised in a two-parent home with a father’s love. Their family lost the man of the house which has already plagued so many homes in the black community due to brutal killings and mass incarcerations. The bottom line, we do not have the same rights of our white counterparts; we cannot afford the luxury of being oblivious.
Did you know black people are incarcerated at more than 5x the rates of whites? According to the NAACP, Criminal Justice Fact Sheet, “Black and Brown people only makeup 32% of the population in the United States but represents 56% of all incarcerated people.” After reading the article I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the percentage which is very disproportionate. Ava DuVernay made a NetFlix documentary called “13th” and in it she uncovers the truth behind the 13th amendment, how the judicial system was formed, and how prisons are big businesses that make alot of money off of inmates. After watching the documentary I think it is important to educate ourselves on this topic and to teach our youth how to deal with the police because ultimately police interactions with our community means life or death.
An incident that happened in 2015 with a teen girl in McKinney, Texas was very heartbreaking but speaks volumes on how police treat our children. A police officer manhandled a young black teen girl who was attending an end of the year swim party with her friends and was the target of his aggression. The officer threw the young girl on the grass and put both of his knees on her back and pulled her braids without any cause or reason. Why were her rights violated? After the clip went viral there were white people commenting on the incident saying “If she would have just listened it would have never happened”, and “The officer was doing what he needed to do to get the situation under control”, none of these responses are valid and to be honest this reinforces how some white people view not only black and brown adults but also our children. Why is the first question asked when a black/brown person is violated is “What did they do wrong?”, or the assumption “They must have done something.” In this instance if the teen girl would have been white I’m sure the situation would have been handled alot differently. The “justice system” devalues are skin color and treats us according to their own perceptions of what a “victim” and “perpetrator” looks like.
Black and Brown parents have to worry about things that white parents do not give a second thought to and this is even more amplified when it comes to police interacting with our children. Take another incident that happened more recently in Chicago in 2018 , when a 10-year-old black boy was handcuffed because someone called and reported a young black man had a gun and when police arrived on the scene instead of doing their due diligence to find the young man, they put the boy in handcuffs who was innocently playing outside of his grandmother’s home. How is this okay? A child? For some officers, there is really no line or limit they will not cross even when it comes to victimizing and criminalizing our children.
Recently, I watched an interview with DL Hughley talking about his first interaction with the police at 8 years old and what occurred. He was walking in his neighborhood with his friend minding his business and a police officer pulled up and asked him if he knew where a man was from the same neighborhood and DL responded “No”, however that did not stop the officer from making him and his friend put their hands on the hood of the car and telling them if they were to take their hands off the car he would blow their heads off. Let that sink in for a minute an officer telling a child something like that, and these are the people we entrust to keep our communities “safe”. To be honest, we need protection from the corrupt officers and to be kept safe from them. Although there are some good cops the bad cops really put a negative light on police officers in general.
The police evoke fear, control, and can do as they please because they do not have to be held accountable for their actions because no measures have been put in place to monitor and discipline them. Sadly, this has led to tragedy after tragedy occuring in different states across the U.S. Even though, cases involving the police murdering black people has led to civil suits and money being awarded to the victim’s family there has not been any real consequences for taking innocent peoples lives. Money will not bring back their loved ones, it does not make the family complete, it does not fill the void in the family’s heart, and it certainly does not prosecute and convict the officer. If anything this system allows for these violations to keep occurring without any real solution in view.
There was another incident that occurred in Phoenix, Arizona, with a young black family being bombarded by the police over a dollar tree Barbie doll. In May 2019, their 4-year-old daughter put a dollar Barbie doll in her backpack and as a result, the police ambushed the family with guns drawn and threats to shoot the unarmed couple in front of their two young daughters while the mother is currently pregnant. If the police could do this to a family over a $1 Barbie doll that shows the value they put on black life. Children around the world do similar things such as this little girl. However, if black children make this common mistake it puts their family in danger. Although I do not see any changes coming anytime soon from the police I feel like we as black and brown people need to educate ourselves on our rights and our people. We must also teach our children their rights and what they need to do when they encounter the police.