Once again, I am angry, very angry. I’m disappointed, very disappointed, and I am sad, very sad. America, we’ve done it again…another senseless execution solely based upon implicit bias. Fear? No longer an excuse. When making the decision to enter law enforcement, as a first responder, you must have undergone sufficient training, simulated exercises, and have faced your fears and have acquired the skills, techniques and the wherewithal or mindfulness that enables your redirect of those energy producing endorphins which can lead to poor judgment and wrongful actions.
Your fears must have been reality tested enough that you were issued a badge and weaponry, and determined qualified to engage the general public and represent your city, town, district, state, and so forth as a ‘protector’. You ARE supposed to be the voice of reason and calm in times of chaos and disorder. You are supposed to be the ‘hero’ for your citizenry all of them; men, women, children, families, black, white, rich or poor.
What the public should not expect is that you will be the source of chaos, and harm the harmless. You are supposed to recognize behaviors-intent, impact, language, culture, etc… The general public, any particular group or race should not have to scowl, cower, doubt, question or fear you, an officer charged with upholding the laws, defend and ensure the safety of others without restraint or hesitation. You are supposed to be the hero, not the villain.
How do we explain to the young children, black and white, English proficient or non-English speaker that which we continue to witness? How do we explain this to the little children who have not amassed a repertoire of intolerance, implicit bias or prejudice regarding others who are different from them? What does this communicate to the children who do look like these victims? How are we shaping their worldviews?
How do you explain it to your children? How do you sleep at night? Face your colleagues, friends, families? What do you say to yourself? ‘I f…ed up”, or I was justified by taking the actions chosen that fateful day?
It is my sincere hope that it will be the former and not the latter that you choose. After all, any day that ‘in the line of duty’ results in a death, it is a day that, not only you, but we have all ‘f…ked up’….miserably. How can we not train and educate and then train some more, the brave men and women who make the conscious decision to risk their lives on a daily basis.
Certainly, this is a result of the powers-that-be neglecting to take heed from all incidents past, and they failed to be proactively strategize how the evidence thus far has contributed to the anger, dislike, distrust, and fear of the very individuals, the law enforcement officers who made a voluntary choice to protect others and even protect others from themselves. Is this not reinforcement for the African American person of color who already are ambivalent at best when police arrive or patrol their communities?
Unfortunately, this is not novel, isolated or foreign to the 25, 35, 50 or 14 year old. All that we have heard, been told, received complaints, expressed doubts concerning the treatment of African-Americans should not be met with continued disbelief. The miracle of smartphone technology and the internet forums allows everyone to get a glimpse of the experiences of a formerly enslaved people, poor people, young men and women in America.
The argument isn’t about justice or equality alone, but cultural awareness, implicit bias and the lack of empathy between the races, not just cultures. It must be about race. Sidebar: I wonder why so much animosity, lack of respect, and plainly inhumane treatment of people whose ancestry traces back much farther than most of the dominant culture’s, in terms of our country’s history. Since the 19th century, post slavery, people of color have been victimized and the victimization persists today. Yet, whenever there is a major incident, or when minor incidents such as a traffic stop and someone dies, it follows that all explanations are focused on blaming the victim.
What have blacks done to your lives that warrants your ignorance to spill over the lives of individuals who are basically where your ancestors placed them by erecting barriers before them. It behooves the brass to implement training that intensive immersion experiential active skills acquisition pertaining to police. Train better, consistency, intensive, vet and evaluate-assess for bias PRE-SERVICE and train in-service. We need this immediate relief, because as I commented on a post written by a fellow blogger, this time, “The revolution WILL surely be televised”-live and in living color.
So, where do we begin. It [change] does not begin at the police academy, graduate school, or high school. The mis-education began before we enter school, and that starts at home. Mindsets that encourage positive change reflect a more humanistic view of others, acceptance, tolerance, respect and appreciation of difference and diversity but focuses on the similarities.
Is this what we wish to teach our children, really? Is this what we want for their future? All I have are questions because the facts are clearly presented before me. Blame? The blame for scenarios such as the ones we see, and cry out in disbelief, anger, shame, and sorrow belongs to us all. Shame on us for not crying out for fairness. Shame on us for not storming the gates of hell if necessary, protesting the mass killing of otherwise innocent citizens, our brothers sisters, cousins, aunts uncles, …human beings. Will this forever be our legacy as Americans?
Shame on us for not collectively petitioning the policy makers, making demands getting out and voting. There IS power in the ballot. Why not withhold your vote until candidates recognize your concerns, and rally against institutionalized racism? Cast your votes for someone who will support your causes, which are completely justified. Why must we wait until another individual dies before voicing our anger. Be proactive; exercise your power. Don’t let them continue to win, because when we allow another person to die in these ways, we are allowing another win for the enemy. That enemy is not the person committing these murders, the enemy is the mindset, the systemic policies which enable this to occur. And they occur without reprisal, too. Cry out for new, more just practices, policies, and perspectives. Cry out for educational frameworks that align with the diverse needs of a diverse society. Rally for a curriculum that teaches you and your children about the cultural backgrounds of others. Teach them to appreciate each other so they learn tolerance and respect early. Teach children about themselves, their history, a people’s history.
Get involved in your community affairs, your children’s schools, and be there to advocate for a more just educational experience at school. Exercise your power and influence at school to protect your children from injustice, bullying, and negative policies that impact your child’s life before they enter society at large where these situations unfold. This means that together you can change mindsets that create fears, and promote anger and distrust of law enforcement, disconnect with teachers, and any agency, organization or person who is supposed to have your child’s interest at heart.
You should not have to teach your child to tip toe around police, fear them, watch their words actions, and behaviors that other children exhibit, just because your child has darker skin, lives in a different community, or doesn’t dress in a manner acceptable to others who don’t have a clue about what it represents or why. Every black person is somebody’s child, and to protect your children from harm, begin advocacy early. Fight for them before they become adolescents and reach the age where harassment, stop and frisk, or a soda bottle gets misconstrued as a gun, or schools suspend them and negative gang membership, crime and violence add to your fears as parents of children of color.
Rally out for changes in the textbook selection at schools, and be bold at schools your child attends. If teachers don’t engage you, then you go to them-anything for your child. With all that I’ve said, I have not scratched the surface on the myriad of changes and the responsibilities that the dominant culture holds. Too numerous to visit here, but you will hear from me again, and you can bet that I will outline their responsibilities and duties that are being neglected, for this is where the ball is dropped and people die and families cry. Enough already; we’ve had enough; I’ve seen enough. Everyone is someone’s child! To the families whose relatives have dies, for decades, I mourn with you! Fight for your life, and fight for your child’s life. God IS a good God! Continue to believe!
Thanks for allowing me this forum to rant and vent and voice my opinions! Certainly, you can comment and enlighten us RIGHT HERE. SO, LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS BELOW!
Next: What we can do TODAY to prevent this revolution.