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.