For a very long time now I’ve been getting damn near physically ill at the sheer numbers of Black people being murdered by police officers. I can’t even begin to write about all my feelings on that, so this post while surrounding that issue, isn’t about it directly.
It’s about what leads up to my people being put in harm’s way. And this is how that happens:
When a white person sees a Black person they tend to have some kind of emotions about it. I know, because I see visibly the reactions to myself every time I walk out my front door. I might be generalizing here, or I might be saying the majority of white people, or some white people. But whatever way makes it easier for you to continue reading, choose that.
Here’s the thing.
Just like how we are now advocating for people to stop calling other people “illegal” or “illegals” or “illegal aliens” when talking about immigration. Why? Because people are PEOPLE, they aren’t illegal. They can have unsure or undefined legal status, they can be residing in a country illegally, they can be without documentation and/or papers that say they’re a citizen of that country. But a person is a person.
Like how we advocate for saying “I have diabetes” instead of “I’m diabetic or a diabetic”. I have bipolar, I’m not bipolar. I’m not a disease or a disorder or an illness or any ailment. I may have that or those ailments, but I am NOT them.
When subconsciously or otherwise automatically you see someone with dark skin, or see a Black person, or a non-white person as suspicious: A Lot Of Stuff Can Then Happen.
And none of it is good.
Instead you need to see people as people and not judge on skin color, race, creed, orientation and all that. But instead:
SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE DOING. Watch their behavior. Are they behaving in a suspicious manner? What exactly IS suspicious behavior? Do we have exactly what that is written down somewhere? Cops say that reaching for or touching the waistband area is suspicious activity. I say there ‘s lots of reasons people reach for or touch their waistbands:
1. Itchy undies. Maybe your tighty whiteys or thong situation is cutting into your waistline.
2. To give your pants, underpants, panties, pantyhose, skirt etc a good hike. Or my hands are on their way to go into my pockets because its cold/getting my phone/wanna look debonair.
3. If it was the 90’s errbody had their pagers and/or cellies clipped to their belts.
4. I’m always sweeping my waistline area with my hand to keep my purse from banging in front of me while I walk and shop.
5. Hands fall naturally to around the waistline level of the body while standing and walking 0_0
Here’s a headline for you: Multiple Cops Held At Gunpoint by Other Cops Who Mistook Them For Criminals. Go ahead and check that article out and/or watch the video.
Now WHY or HOW could something like this happen?? Well it happens every day. It happens because some super nice well meaning white person gets on the horn to 911 and says how Black people are in a car wearing bulletproof vests.
There’s a lot to unpack here and I’m gonna unpack it ALL. I hope you have your seatbelts on!
1. Last I checked it wasn’t illegal or against the law or harmful to people around you to wear a bullet proof vest either in a car or wherever. I did a google search and turns out I can buy a bullet proof vest in a lot of places. There was only one website that had the caveat that you couldn’t purchase their vests if you had a criminal record.
2. The caller and the dispatcher and the police officers responding to the call all defaulted to Zebras or Unicorns instead of Horses. What do I mean by that? My version of Occam’s Razor; Or when you hear hoof beats, you think horses not zebras or unicorns. The caller unicorned those officers and got this whole thing started.
3. The officers in the car had no chance. it started with the caller who deemed them suspicious from the start. They couldn’t POSSIBLY have been law enforcement officers going about their business because in everyday life THE PEOPLE WHO GO AROUND WEARING BULLET PROOF VESTS ARE POLICE OFFICERS LIKE NO DUH. But the problem was they were BLACK so anything they did, wore, drove etc etc becomes suspect. And I used that word on purpose.
Some of you will tell me that you know for sure that the caller would have done the same if it was four white people wearing bullet proof vests in a car. I seriously don’t think so. Because we would be hearing about this happening all the dang time. If it was the VESTS that were suspicious….?
Did the person even stop to wonder why they were all wearing the same thing (oh yeah! gang members!) or to look closely at the car – it was a government vehicle issued to them to go about their business of serving a warrant. And you need backup for stuff like that, hence them rolling so deep. Cars like that have official stickers on the windows, and special official license plates. I mean, REALLY.
Racism is a pathology that renders those suffering from it to experience hyper-irrationality, loss of common sense, and the ability to think logically is completely impaired. I won’t mention the “racism goggles” that are attached invisibly to their retinas, and give a distorted view of the reality that is happening right in front of them.
I’m not trying to be funny because one of the results of this person calling 911 on my people is that these officers are traumatized, they felt humiliated and now have a deep distrust of those who they’re supposed to be working with. Needless to say they are suing and are out on workers compensation leave. Because their co-works all ganged up and pulled weapons on them. In case you think their reaction is too strong.
“All I could think of was if I sneeze, or blink, or clear my throat, that, yeah, I might have a bullet lodged in my head,” said Annette Thomas, one of the officers in the car that night.
Have you ever been stopped by cops at gunpoint? I have. See my Eff The Police post if you still don’t understand.
In recent months the NYPD threw a tantrum and said they were going to stop doing police work because blah blah bah whine I dunno I forget. The minute they stopped policing crime in New York skyrocketed!!! No, actually it didn’t. The first month crime in NY fell like a rock. And kept on falling.
Now I’m still wondering what on Buddha’s Green Earth were these cops doing that they considered to be “policing” that when stopped, crime just plummets like that?
This might help. When Stop & Frisk was finally stopped in NY, the same thing happened. The police kept saying that crime would rise to an all-time high, when in fact the opposite happened.
I have some theories on both of those. NY can serve as a microcosm for what’s been going on and continues to go on in every city and town in America. What the police were doing wasn’t in fact any kind of policing. ie fighting crime, arresting criminals, getting drugs and weapons off the streets, making a safer city for everyone etc. You know, what police ALWAYS tell us they’re doing.
In fact they were focusing most of their budget, time, energy and officers on “policing” certain people and certain communities ONLY no matter what the stats for crimes on those folks or where they live said. Meanwhile in every other part of town, crime is continuing as per usual, because they all know the cops aren’t gunning for THEM.
I’ll leave you to google up the absolutely dismal stats that Stop & Frisk in NY had. Basically if a company started a project and had those stats, and that awful a return on investment – they’d shut the program down and fire buncha folks and look to find something that actually WORKS.
But S&F was to drag on in NY for over a DECADE. They were getting no guns off the street. They were stopping no drugs – unless you count the dime bags of weed people are sitting rotting away in Rikers Island were found to have on their person. It was a pogrom of violence, oppression, targeted harassment and profiling that had little to do with fighting crime.
So when they announced they were going to stop doing what they’ve been doing – what they called “police work” – it was a heads up to all those who’d been gleefully engaging in illegal shenanigans with nary a look from the police: That it was time to shut down operations and hunker down, wait this out, see what happens. Because as soon as law enforcement decides to stop focusing on Black and Brown people, they might actually have to start doing their actual jobs.
You know. Watching for suspicious BEHAVIOR and start policing EVERYONE and stop giving certain areas of the city and the people that live there a pass. Because crime happens EVERYWHERE. And if you don’t believe that, then you’re as foolish as the NYPD and every other PD that engages in that sort of “policing”.
Racism tells the police chief, the judges, the police officers that crime MOSTLY happens where Black and Brown people are. That dark skin is an indicator of suspicion. and if you crack down on those people and where they live wooo wow you’ll be cleaning up crime from the city! When statistics from recent bullshit as well as DECADES of stats shows that that just simply isn’t the case.
Lastly. People. White people. Stop calling 911 like it’s your friendly neighborhood cop shop. Stop using that line that is for EMERGENCIES because you haven’t yet sorted out your issues with Black people.
Take a moment to SEE what is actually happening before you. Envision horses instead of unicorns. Why that person didn’t assume they were law enforcement and went on about their day is beyond me. STOP CALLING DOWN HARM AND DEATH UPON MY PEOPLE!
Why did that person call 911 because they were uncomfortable about a child playing in a playground? 12 year old Tamir Rice is DEAD and his family is devastated.
I need there to be consequences for making erroneous 911 calls. Because it seems to me there aren’t any laws around that. Maybe something around making a false report to the police. Is that a thing? Well I think nationwide there should be a THING. Something like this:
You call 911 and it turns out to be bullshit – ie the people or person you called the cops on was in fact NOT a criminal nor were they engaging in criminal behavior: You get fined $250.00. While that doesn’t seem like much, it’s a noticeable pinch in the wallet for the average person.
If you call 911 and it not only turns out to be bullshit – for those same reasons as above – but the person you called the cops on gets injured, beaten, shot, killed because of your call: You get fined $500.00
I’m not putting a price on a human life, because you simply cannot. What I’m trying to do is merely establish a deterrent for knee-jerk phone calls to the police. If you knew you might have to cough up some cash if you’re wrong, then you might pause and look at the situation more closely before deciding to call (or not to call).
You might say this will stop people from calling 911 when they should. I say no, it won’t. Because when a true emergency is throwing down, you’re calling 911 regardless of anything. What it will put a dent in – in this wonderful world where this would actually be a THING – is prevent people like that person who called the cops on this guy because he was walking down the street with his hands in his pockets.
The man was stopped and questioned after a “nervous” passerby called 911 to report that he was “walking with his hands in his pockets.”
What the hell is that???? It was DECEMBER in MICHIGAN. Maybe his HANDS WERE COLD. And maybe because he was Black those simple things that everyone (white) else does, becomes nervous making. Because HE was suspicious.
So anything he does after that – including walking down the street with hands in pockets – becomes problematic for the person suffering from racism. I’m sure they passed several (white) people walking with their hands in their pockets, and they didn’t even register to them. Because those aren’t SUSPICIOUS PEOPLE.
See what happens when you make people suspicious, instead of looking at their behavior? If that person had stopped themselves before calling and said something like this to themselves: “hmmm ok why am I nervous exactly? He’s just walking down the street. People put their hands in their pockets for lots of reasons. He isn’t threatening anyone, he’s just…. walking. Ok I see he doesn’t have gloves and its pretty cold right now, so maybe he’s just trying to keep his hands warm on his way home”.
MAYBE THEY WOULDN’T HAVE TO GO ON AND RUIN THAT GUYS DAY. AND IF YOU THINK I’M EXAGGERATING WHEN I SAY PHEW AT LEAST HE CAME OUT THAT ALIVE THEN YOU CAN GO FUCK YOURSELF.
I’m sick unto DEATH of all of this. SICK.
STOP CALLING 911 ON MY PEOPLE!! Think before you press that button. LOOK at what’s ACTUALLY going on in front of you. And in between? CONFRONT your biases.
Start watching behavior instead of people.
Make yourself a list of what you would consider suspicious behaviors. Really think about it. Because the list of things that Black people engage in that have been deemed suspicious is absolutely ridiculous. From being “Pedestrian Checked” like that guy walking in the cold, being questioned, beaten, tazed, arrested to being shot and killed:
Standing, Walking, Running, Sitting at a table in a restaurant, Sitting waiting to pick up child from daycare, Eye contact, Clenched fist, Holding a screwdriver, Having a toy sword slung over your shoulder, Exercising/Jogging, Playing in a playground with at toy gun, Talking and laughing with friends, Banking/Getting money from the atm, Standing on the pavement waiting for your family, Driving, Riding a bike, Having a snowball fight with friends, Sleeping on your couch, Sleeping on a park bench, Waving a bread knife around, Walking with a purpose, Not using your turn signal, Following police officers directions, Filming the police, Exercising your constitutional rights ie Protesting, Being legally blind, Attending a pool party, Sitting quietly in class, Waiting on the roadside for a tow truck. The list goes on and on and on.
I’ve lived in the same place for over 10 years and sometimes my neighbors will get froggy and say the most outlandish things. Mistaking me for “one of the bad ones” and somehow not recognizing my car despite it being parked right next to my place since forever. So far they haven’t called the cops on me…..