ISSUE NO. 2 FEBRUARY 2023
As a person of color born in America in the turbulent 1960’s, I have seen a lot. And also, as a Black Male living life with my father’s name, as well as the young man who lost his life in the fifties seemingly gave me a ringside seat to view the country’s naked face. Most American’s have no idea of what it is to live in a ghetto, without protection of a father, for most of their young life. Childhood did not exist for me after Pop passed away. The Man of the House at age Eight, responsible for my own life and 6 other human beings took the place of childhood games. I was suited for the job.
As a family we did all we could to wage war against whatever came through our doors and windows without invitation. From pestilence to pedophile, which are practically the same species, I had no weapons or wisdom, just the willingness to sacrifice sleep, and naiveté’ to shepherd over the house. Enemies came in the form of false friends, and others seeking advantages of a woman alone with a bunch of kids.
Evil became known to me as I witnessed a beatdown in front of my home. The villains wore the uniforms of Policemen. The victim that day was a mere teenager of color, tall for his age, immediately caught the attention of a cop, short in stature, if not intellect. The car screeched to a halt drawing my attention. I looked out the window to see what was happening, as a cop -car which was stationary and a raging angry voice issued commands. The tall boy, was bouncing a basketball as he walked, and was ordered out of the street.
The young man obeyed, and stepped up onto the sidewalk, and continued walking and bouncing his ball. Then he was ordered to stop bouncing he ball. Seemingly confused…it was as if he couldn’t decide if the officer was serious. He bounced the ball only once more, and continued down the street carrying it, but as his back was turned the cop flew out of the car and began striking him with a knight-stick. He made an attempt to get to his yard. His home was almost across from mine, his parents came to their gate and were met by the other cop who had drawn his gun. The mother cried out as her son was beaten, neighbors wondered who to call to end the horror. “Call the damn FBI!” Someone yelled. The beating went on and on, and only seemed to stop when someone called an ambulance, which arrived seemingly simultaneously with a bunch of other cops. All I could see was a bloody form of what was a young man being carefully managed into an ambulance. There was a Rorschach Test visual painted in his blood on top of the police-car’s hood, where the boy was brutalized in front of us.
A few months prior in 1st Grade our class was visited by “Officer Friendly” who was a Black Man. He was tall, good-looking, well-spoken and by the time he left we boys all wanted to be Policemen.
But my eyes were opened many times after that. I saw the flipside of ‘good cop’ contrasted by the ugly face up close as I was called the ‘N’ word by a cop at age 10. Then by age 11 two cops tried to get me to reach in my bag for a receipt for my comicbook after following me through the alley to my house, all the way from the store. “What’s your name boy?” “Emmett”, I said. He looked at his partner, and asked, “Do you reckon ol’ Emmett Till had time to sire any picaninnies before he bought the farm?” I had my hair in braids, for the first and last time, that I ever wore them outside. His partner chuckled, “Man, I don’t know!”.
Then he continued, but at this point I reasoned they had given up on whatever they were thinking the outcome would be, and I seized the moment. “Okay, now..all you got to do is reach into the bag, and show us your receipt, and we’ll just let you go, is that fair?”
I said, what if I put the bag down, and you look for yourself officer?” It was a moment that helped me long afterwards, as in his reply to my suggestion, revealed their true intentions. “You’re a smart ‘N’ word, aren’t you?” A smirk of sorts, formed on their faces as they exchanged glances. Then he finished the chess-game with “You might live a little longer than your namesake.”
There is no reason to believe that those responsible for hiring do not know what they are dealing with. Familiar patterns are created by draftsmen/architects. The desired outcome of the powers that be, have a result in mind, and the players chosen to act out the scenes. Every event paints a picture they want to see. A picture of their composition.
I could give you examples of encounters with Black policemen, which are just as chilling. As these types actually believe their blood is blue, at least until they try to prove it, and are quickly educated by the criminal justice system, whereas others had escaped scrutiny, and cashed in their get-out-of-jail-free cards.
It is not the many, the mostly decent a-enforcement professionals the public needs to worry about. It is that the best examples and worst examples, put on their uniforms in the same locker-room, listen to each-other speak, and turn blind eyes to telling behavior, given benefit of the doubt, when instances suggest a pattern of possible problems, if the agenda is truly ‘to protect and serve’.
Those good officers it would seem are not speaking up or speaking out, and they have the same badges, and guns, so as the most attention came to light as the beating of Rodney King, was filmed, and made its way to televisions all over the world. And yet with evidence on film, even then justice was shockingly denied.
We say Black Lives Matter, not in a collective allegiance to an organization. We say it, because it is true, and as soon as one utters it, someone, usually not a person of color corrects it, saying ‘All Lives Matter’. That statement is true as well, however one does not need to say, White/Blue or anyother life matters as it is a GIVEN. What we need correctors of GRAMMAR to do id TELL IT TO THE POLICE, while you see a person of color losing their lives while Black, and being filmed on cellphones being strangled, beaten, and shot to death.
A police-car pulls you over, and for the sake of argument you may have committed a traffic violation which has not been proved. In the event of a tragedy, resulting in your death, do you believe you should trust the police who have just caused your death to turn over evidence from their bodycams, so your family can prove the case against the police department? Has it ever happened that persons intending to commit crimes, fail to record themselves? It seems that NEVER do those same officers forget to load the bullets into their guns. Never do they forget to put on their badges or put gas into their police-cars, yet it is believable that they forget to turn on cameras, that will show themselves doing their jobs, being a credit to their city and their departments, showing their partners doing the right thing etc. The only thing we have as citizens in America is the power of technology. If the Police don’t turn their bodycams on, I believe it is way past time for us to start.
You and your oppressors of the past should not share the same vocabulary.
Words form perceptions first and reality for those who share that collective view finally.
When you say the ‘N’ word, your words begin to for shackles on your brother’s body. Let us begin to use words we mean to create a positive future now.
The young people now address each other as ‘King and Queen’.
Instead of speaking in Shackles, they now speak in Crowns.”