As if it wasn’t hard enough to be black already, day to day we face challenges; lynching, slavery, rape, murder, the list is definitely endless. Just recently a white male, Dylann Roof, opened fire in one of the most historic African-American churches in America. Times are depressing, but we must continue to strive for a better nation. From generation to generation the most important thing we must pass down is knowledge. We’re all fully aware of the media coverage on police brutality and how they’re getting away with murder. This isn’t an issue that’s just starting to happen; it’s BEEN happening. As a people, we have to be fully aware of laws and changes in the system in order to protect ourselves.
I started writing this thinking of all the people I, and others, have lost due to the corrupt system we call the government. I wanted to not only display my view, but others as well. After being given this topic, I knew it wouldn’t be hard to execute. People love to give their opinions and views, especially when it’s a hot topic. A conversation that started between two people flowed into a full blown discussion. We Bleed Ink’s artist definitely had a lot to say.
“I don’t have respect for police officers; I respect them more outside uniform. I’m not afraid of the badge,” artist PJ stated. “I’ve heard stories. I have family members who tell stories of how they mess over people and inmates.”
Police are known for pulling people over and harassing them, but are black people the targets? Some feel as though they’re just doing their job, and some are, but there’s an abuse of authority that hides behind a badge. “Why use your authority to f&@$ over people,” Vee stated, “I’ve been harassed by the police. I know my rights! I won’t escalate the situation if I know I’m wrong. When they are racially profiling is when the problem comes in.”
” A police officer thinks everybody is suspicious,” Joe said.
“It’s their job to randomly pull people over,” Tommy added.
Would you be surprised if I said people don’t know their basic rights when being detained? I’ve been in positions with the police, were it depends on the officer, and how you’re treated and detained. Not all police are bad; they just want to do their jobs without hassle. My step father has served on the police force for 15+ years, and like many, let people go. But what about those who abuse the law and use it to an advantage?
“The police abuse their authority, on the streets & jail. I don’t respect the badge because they don’t. They think they’re above the law.” YO exclaimed. “Police use the badge to protect them because their racist. You could’ve been a racist tattoo artist & not tattoo black people. You chose to be an officer.”
Whether we want to ignore it or not race IS an issue! Not just white officers, black ones too. “It’s not always your fault, you were just being black at the wrong time,” Yo said. In cases like Treyvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner, their lives were taken because of ignorance. As Black Americans we are not equal. We have the tools to further ourselves, “You have to educate yourself. Lack of knowledge is our own fault,” Tommy expressed. How can we obey a system that isn’t designed to protect us? “They know who to pick & choose. It’s really them Vs us.” Joe agreed. People live in fear every day of the police and why should they? Police are placed on the street to “protect and serve” not “kill and destroy.” Families and communities have been torn by the actions of law enforcement, and it takes a toll on everyone.
How are we supposed to prosper as a community when we don’t feel protected? How are we to express ourselves when we are suspects because of our looks and attire? I have a father, brothers, cousins and friends that I fear for daily. “I tell my little brothers to be safe every time they leave the house,” a close friend, Joy Thomas, told me. “I try not to freak them out; I just try to give knowledge as much as possible.”
Peaceful protest, rallies, and marches seen on television today make America look like we’ve stepped back into the civil rights movement. Ignorance is the lack of knowledge and now is the time to WAKE UP. Not just black people, ALL people. All races, creeds, genders, and religions; Wake up and see that we are greater than they treat us. We are not thugs. We are not animals. We are people! A badge and uniform doesn’t put them higher than us in the grave. The true power that we have as a nation is prayer. By coming together we cannot be stopped.
Wake up people, please