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Despite Any Appearances to the Contrary, Black People Are Not Okay

Don't even! Not. Okay.

By The Dani WriterPublished 3 years ago 7 min read
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

Before you ask, the answer is an unequivocal “No.”

The response will not necessarily be professional or polite, or even articulate, nor taken through proper channels. It will not be as per guidelines enacted by an impartially selected steering committee conducting an AGM after the quorum met and meeting minutes painstakingly recorded.

Respect and integrity are hard won.

Black people have been catching hell for a long time from 'authorities' but are also beyond fed up, frustrated, and angry.

Daunte Wright, a ‘Brotha’ to ALL of us, representing yet another fatal statistic of the ‘Boys in blue,’ dead at 20-years-old on April 11, 2021, for the least logical of reasons: A veteran police officer with 26 years of experience allegedly confused a handgun with a taser (or stun gun) even though the two pieces are of different weights, materials, handling, often different colors, and holstered on different sides of an officer’s equipment belt.

Although the levels of ludicrousness ruptured eons ago, this incident isn’t lost on its surroundings. As the event unfolded at the Brooklyn Center, a few miles away, the ex-police officer Derek Chauvin was undergoing a murder trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Video and pictures traversed the world with Chauvin’s knee on a prone Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes.

I can never watch that footage again. Ever.

My nose involuntarily curls as memories like decomposing, maggot-ridden, fetid, ripped flesh assault the bile rising from my stomach.

How can anyone expect reasonable dialogue when these scenarios play on repeat uninterrupted? Events with adequate ‘media value’ make the evening news.

Imagine just for a second all the ones that don’t.

By Gemma Chua-Tran on Unsplash

The glaring fact that this is acceptable protocol speaks to the core of the dark, suffocating, void where humanity’s heart used to beat.

Let, for example, your child be abducted, beaten, berated, raped, and/or tortured beyond recognition, and the broken body placed on a slab at county morgue while a substantial clueless public whine about how gut-wrenchingly loud you cry and how uncomfortable it makes them feel to watch. Perhaps there are more acceptable ways for you to express your loss. Professing understanding and compassion for your situation of course so difficult, but because an investigation has commenced and the authorities have the matter to hand, there is no need to have your messy emotional breakdown within public view. Your endless tears mixing with dripping snot are flooding the just-steam cleaned carpet of racial justice and equality so meticulously laid.

There are glaring galaxy-wide disparities in our definitions of justice and equality.

By Steven Su on Unsplash

Try percentages busting out the seams of national statistics umpteen years ago.

Try a body count that never stopped after George Floyd and more casualties before, during, inside, and all-around the hashtags of Black Lives Matter.

Try after long-held knowledge of your own black son, who as he grows to manhood, can be deemed a potential threat, target, thug, or felon depending on the location and the day.

Yeah. Thought so.

Scream unholy, molten volcano bomb, all-consuming, degree Fahrenheit exceeding, Babylon-Bumba-claat fire!

In Minneapolis from June 2017 until May 2019, a review of 7,000 traffic stops for “equipment violations” found that 54% of those stopped were black people despite only making up 19% of the city population. Even more laughable were it funny, is that a pine tree air freshener hanging on a vehicle rear-view mirror can be considered an “equipment violation,” a highway regulation so varying in applicability across state and county lines that it is often unclear where it is to be enforced.

A rational thinking person would honestly wonder how ridiculously dirt-low crime levels have to be for police officers to have so much time on their hands to regularly stop vehicles spotted with car deodorizers hanging from their rear-view mirrors, which is precisely why Daunte Wright believed he was stopped in the first place (documented in a phone call made to his Mom after being pulled over.) Officers on the scene state that he was pulled over due to expired registration tags. Shortly after, things went very wrong.

It is exasperating for me that there are so many unanswered “Whys” on repeat. Again.

Why was a disproportionate amount of force used on a non-threatening civilian? Why didn’t any of the officers take immediate action after Wright was shot to try to save his life? Why is a police officer's statement delivered as indisputable fact in the absence of independent scrutiny as if it is infallible? Why is there never focus on how a black man/woman must feel being stopped by an organization with ongoing evidenced bias against people of color and the tragic consequences these interactions can consistently have?

A 2020 peer-reviewed study of 100 million traffic stops across the USA revealed that black drivers were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to be searched by police even though less likely to be carrying drugs, guns, or illegal materials compared to white drivers.

WHHYYYYY is this STILL happening???

It is as though I’m living in an alternate universe where I feel all the hurt, anguish, terror, and battery mortar rounds of a warzone at 100+ amplitude, but the speed of light and sound is distorted somehow across the portal divide, so it takes forever for anyone else to notice to the point where it even registers at all.

More heart-rending shrieks from another mother.

Every life milestone painstakingly achieved is displayed like the unfinished race that it is and will always be. Incomplete.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

I find it insulting that such law enforcement agencies expect that we as a people will just accept the explanations given as plausible, logical, and sufficient when external facts don’t exactly marry up. Right now my opinion of those in that category is so low that it doesn’t even register.

Where can such loathing be directed? At select media coverage when stories break appearing to highlight those in a ‘superior’ position in a more favorable light than the ‘victim?’ At the system which perpetuates its blatantly defective components all up and down the country, requesting compliance, compliance, and more compliance in all public to police interactions even when compliance cannot guarantee safety? The ridiculously insane amount of studies completed or planned to be undertaken into something no more a phenomenon than utility invoices. Is there enough loathing to cover all of those areas? That and outrageously then some.

Why in the hell are cops in affected regions still executing traffic stops, searches, and all other interactions that leave traumatized, injured, or dead people in their wake?

Repetitive slow-motion train wrecks with a predicted forecast for additional repetitive slow-motion train wrecks.

This goes way beyond disgusting and dehumanizing. This is race-baiting pure and deliberate.

A university employed economist, who in 2020 reviewed data of two US cities concerning the role of race in policing, found that in over 2 million 911 calls, white police officers responding were five times as likely to discharge firearms in a black neighborhood than black police officers in the same neighborhoods under similar conditions. Face validity is everywhere but data is data and it ain't lying.

Culpability should not be an optional destination choice.

Individually and collectively, law enforcement with access to military-grade arsenal has not and is not adequately monitored and regulated even though there are the resources and constitutional infrastructure to do just that. The ‘blast radius’ in these situations often covers more than just one police officer, one supervisor, one chief of police.

Math problem: If you have 12 police officers and 2 are doing something criminal/life-threatening, and the other 10 ignore and do nothing about it, how many bad police officers do you have? You of course have 12 bad police officers. Or supervisor. Or chief of police. Etc.

A police system that is structured to support and protect its staff must be a system held accountable to the public when such devastating events happen all too often to prevent them from—gee, I dunno—reoccurring?!

The director of the Cambridge Center of Evidence-Based Policing in the UK proposed that had disciplinary monitoring history been completed on Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer filmed with his knee on George Floyd’s neck, a record of 18 complaints against Chauvin could have red-flagged him as an unsuitable police officer a decade ago.

The cop responsible for the shooting death of 14-year-old Tamir Rice had resigned from one police department that assessed him as unsuitable for the role, yet he was hired in Cleveland, Ohio to a police department without a personnel file review.

Mistakes committed countless times are not mistakes.

Accidents are not the rule. They are the exception.

The statistics bear witness to the fact that exceptions were numerical anomalies breached long ago.

The older than dirt ugly underbelly of policing has been exposed.

Courtesy of The Plain View Project Database

A 2019 New York Times report highlighted the suspension of 72 police officers in Philadelphia after the Plain View Project revealed social media posts by those officers making abusive, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and Islamophobic comments.

Courtesy of The Plain View Project Database

Well shut my mouth, there is a whole culture of nasty!

I am so NOT surprised.

As in many cases like Daunte Wright’s, leaders and officials are appealing to the black community for calm in the aftermath. But where are the routine public pleas from the aforementioned leaders and officials toward police officers for calm when interacting with people of color on a regular?

In Daunte, I can see my neighbor, friend, ace-boy, cousin, nephew, brother, son, and countless other men I have known and loved in my lifetime. What will it take for those across law enforcement to see the same and operate from a base of human connection instead of a predatory guns-first-excessive-force approach? I don’t much like the look of a police force that cannot live up to its mandate to ‘protect and serve.’ And I reject a police department that cannot answer that question. They have simply lost the right to exist.

Additional note: This story was written before the Chauvin verdict in the Floyd murder trial was delivered in Minneapolis. There are numerous facets of this issue that would be impossible to include without making this piece one very thick book of a large, heavy multi-volume set. You are encouraged to further research and discuss these matters within your families, communities, and neighborhoods. Be openminded. Be the change you want to see. Be the answer.

An informative video has been included below as a supplemental discussion point, delving deeper into some of the systemic inequalities facing the black community. Thank you for your support.

racial profiling
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About the Creator

The Dani Writer

Explores words to create worlds with poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. Writes content that permeates then revises and edits the heck out of it. Interests: Freelance, consultations, networking, rulebook-ripping. UK-based

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