What a 50 Yr. Old Woman Knows About Young Black Men & the Police That Swore To Protect Them

black men

Why  I Will Raise My Hands to Support the Young Black Men of America.

I had to stop and write a post about a topic that is at the top of today’s news, police brutality. I don’t understand how so many of the people across America think that this is over-blown or justified. It’s not. If anything it’s usually well hidden and ignored.
And yes, it is an issue of color.  It is dangerous to be black in America, particularly if you are a black male.

So, what does a 50+ year old white woman know about this?

Here is what I know. My 19 yr. old son, who was stopped by the police. The officer issued him a ticket and then my son called me to tell me what happened. Being his mother, the first question I asked was. “Are you alright?” There was silence.

Then he said, “You know I’m white, right?”.

That may sound trivial to you but to me it was profound. You see, my son’s best friend since 2nd grade is black, his godfather is black and my son was welcomed into their lives and culture. So, when he asked me that question , he did so because he knows that if he was his best friend, a young black man, the traffic stop would not have been the same. Not at all.  Here is something else I know. Many mothers of black young men, never have the chance to ask their child if they are all right. I raise my hands for them, too.
We live in an area that is deeply scarred by a history of racism, where in 1949, two young falsely accused black prisoners could be shot and killed on the side of a road by none other than the Sheriff, who never faced charges for their murders. A county where just recently a deputy chief resigned and a corporal was fired from local police department after allegations from the FBI concerning their involvement with the KKK.
I have a friend, a black man in his 30’s who because he lived close to his workplace thought that he would save gas and energy and ride his bike to work. After being stopped three times in a week, without breaking a single law.  Each time was stopped he was asked where he was going. That was it.  After the first week he decided it was not safe for him to ride the bike to work any longer.

This is the America we live in.

An America where young black men are targeted by our police. Please do not think that I am naive, because that is far from the truth but I do believe that our nation needs to be better. We do not need to militarize our police departments. We should prosecute the police officers who use excessive force. We should stand up for our friends and neighbors when we see something is wrong.
We need to look at these issues with open minds and realize that this is a human rights issue. I hope we keep protesting and that the media continues to keep this in the forefront of the news. We need to be better. We need to raise our hands and stop the violence against our young people.

About Laura Williams

Freelance writer, graphic designer and social marketing strategist. Host of The Writing Biz show a live stream and podcast that helps writers manage and grow their businesses.

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2 thoughts on “What a 50 Yr. Old Woman Knows About Young Black Men & the Police That Swore To Protect Them

  • Fact Checker

    Hello Laura,
    I’d like to tell you first of all, that I do agree that there are issues that remain in the US with regards to race relations. I do agree that racism still exists in many places. I also believe that there are occasions where the police abuse their power. However I think these remain separate issues that need to be addressed with separate corrective actions. Your post tries to combine these issues and so blurs the root cause of both.

    Here are some things you may not know as a 50 year old white women. You don’t know the stress level a police officer is under when they are called upon to act when their life is in put in danger; when they must make a split second life/death decision. You likely don’t know that in the last 10 years 1,157 police officers lost their lives while on duty. You probably don’t know that 85% of them or 986, happened to be white police officers. Why does it seem so many instances of white police/black perpetrator are in the news? It’s due to the vast majority of police being white and the majority of police calls being made to address issues involving black males. What is needed is more black police officers and the black community needs to address why the majority of police calls bring them to encounter black males.

    Are there problems, yes there are. Does there need to be dialogue to find and address the root cause, yes again. But as you go to raise your hands as a sign of the blame you want to place on white police officers for black deaths, or stereotype all police officers as vigilantes who abuse their power, know you put forth your own nasty form of discrimination. Criminals need to be held accountable for their contributing actions that lead to the violent escalations and encounters with the police. The police will react, often with even greater force; it is that moment that things do not go well for the instigator. Yes, let’s address the abusers of power, but don’t lump every white police officer into the same horrible image you have written here!

    • Laura Williams Post author

      Fact Checker,
      First, I appreciate your joining the conversation. Without discussion there will never be change.
      Second, I don’t think I lumped all police officers together. Just like in any group there are good and bad. I have a niece that is a cop. But there are bad ones. The problem arises when they are not held accountable when they do cross the line.
      I think that they should be and I think that there are many that abuse their power. I don’t know if you have engaged in an open dialogue with young black men on this subject but I have and it is a serious issue.
      Again thank you for joining the discussion.