Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Justifiable Paranoia and Police Brutality


About a month ago, I saw a white kid in my neighborhood pointing his toy gun at every car that passed by.  Instantly, it brought to mind the tragic story of Tamir Rice. Neighbors called the police on him because they were afraid the toy gun he was wielding was a real gun. Tamir Rice was eventually killed by the police for playing.  Of course, I knew the kid in my neighborhood was just playing but why didn't Tamir Rice get the same benefit of the doubt?
Confession: I wanted to call the police just on GP but I realized that was petty and unnecessary.
Too frequently we hear allegations of a police officer killing an unarmed black person for talking back or looking suspicious or playing with a toy gun. Quite frankly, all of these news stories have me 'noid and tripping.
What if someone mistakes my hand for a weapon when I'm doing the "black girl head pat" while driving trying to preserve my hairstyle and not irritate my scalp? Or when I'm sitting in my own driveway for a long time trying to find the perfect playlist for my morning commute? Or when I'm sitting in the dark parking lot of a Vestavia church trying to program my GPS to get me out of this unfamiliar area? They don't know me and I don't know them.
As a child of God, I know I should only fear God and not fear man. I must trust that He is in control and will take care of me. But I can't trust the police! They shoot to kill instead to apprehend. They don't ask questions and get defensive when the community wants answers.
It used to be that parents had to worry mostly about their black boys and teach them how to deal with the police but after Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd and Shereese Francis, we women must watch our backs too. We have to be careful of our hand gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions, station, gait and range of motion.
Again I ask, are my fears irrational?

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