I am not sure how much more our community can take? I get it. It is tough for the officers who care about their community and take their oath to serve and protect seriously. It is also tough being a person of color encountering a police (peace) officer.
For so much of my life, I have been the first person of color, the only person of color or a few people of color in most situations. My first high school, college life, my career, non-profit boards etc. The only place that I felt apart of a majority was at home and my church home. That being said, my experiences with overt and covert racism are ingrained in me.
The days of Jim Crow, blatant racism may seem over but when you see countless incidents of people taking my skin color as a threat you know that it is not. When there are countless incidents of stereotyping me because of my hair style and my hair color, Jim Crow has not ended. Overt racism is prevalent!
To that end, what do I tell my grandchildren who hear daily that they can be anything they want to be and they are destined to be world changers? The reality is my 5 grandsons are predestined (according to society) to be a negative statistic. Our children’s curriculum includes reading, writing, arithmetic, and how to deal with racism along with much prayer.
I started writing a different article but after Ms. Jefferson’s senseless murder in Fort Worth this weekend, the column completely changed. Racism is an illness, and so many people are sick. It is easy to fear things that are different. Yes, we are different. The difference is more than the color of our skin. We were taught we had to be the best to be thought of as equal. That’s different. We were taught to be polite and gracious in the midst of our attacks so we will be accepted. That’s different. We were taught to love you even though you were our enemy. That’s different.
The majority of Black people were forced to migrate to this country against our will. We were enslaved, beaten, raped and killed because we were seen as an expendable commodity. We suffer from generational PTSD (post traumatic slave syndrome). Yes, we are different. I am different but so are you. You have just as much the right to respect me as you expect me to respect you. We can do this. We can come together. We can see past the color of our skin and see the red heart with the red blood flowing through our veins. Yes, we are tired, but we cannot give up. Our legacy is depending on us!
Let’s add to our Black agenda, the creation of recurring police community summits so our sworn peace officers can hear from us and we can hear from them. Perhaps that could start a change in how we see each other? Perhaps that change will trickle through our community and the madness can stop for our children and my grandchildren.
THIS WEEK’S CALL TO ACTION:
1. Write your councilperson, requesting the police community summits.
2. Get the handout from the NAACP San Antonio Branch on what to do when you encounter a law enforcement officer. If they do not have anymore, request they get some from the national office.