Traditions pass along through family lines and are thought to bring unity and civilization in what can be a confusing world. During this dangerous time of white police killing blacks and blacks killing law enforcement officers perhaps it is far past time to speak of a family tradition passed along in most black families at least since the early 40’s.
I was only ten –years-old when I got the “talk.” No, it was not about the birds and bees, but about blacks and the police. It was made very clear to me that in many instances the police were an occupying force to be left alone. The rules for engaging with the police were spelled out for us.
Number one: Always to be respectful and respond to police commands no matter what you thought. Remain calm, don’t resist and do as you’re told.
Number two: Don’t draw attention to yourself. They would give of examples of appearances that could attract the police whether it was correct or not.
Three: Don’t interfere with police business because there was a good chance you could become part of that police business.
Four: Pick your friends carefully because right or wrong police consider crime before they consider the person especially if they’re black.
Five: Never ever run. If you run you are asking for an ass-whipping, a brutal “short cut” to the police station or, death.
I heard this talk from my grandfather in Chicago. I later heard it from my father and I remember it coming from my mouth to my boys and grandchildren whose father had already told them.
Although seen as potential enemies, for the most part, the police are welcome additions to many communities. They keep order, lower crime rates and often are sympathetic to the people who live in the areas they must police.
Unfortunately, racial profiling has resulted in embarrassment for the police and perceived felons. Two days ago on Facebook, noted astrophysicist, Neil DeDegrasse Tyson https://t.freespeech.org/text/neil-degrasse-tyson-perfectly-explain..., recounted how he had been pulled over 11 times. It is not unusual for this occurrence. Music Hall of Fame trumpeter Miles Davis was pulled over in Bel Aire two blocks from his home.
These occurrences are not the exception, they are the rule. As one having the same, it is embarrassing standing with hands on the top of your car and being frisked while people drive by and look at you being guilty of nothing but DWI. (Driving While Black)
When there is fear on both sides, there is bound to be tragedy. Police are afraid of black men and black men are afraid of the police. When the two are brought together under pressure tragedy can ensue. Hopefully, others can see what is going on or it’s back to the 1960’s when police faced violent confrontation with armed black militant groups.
We truly need an open dialogue on the situation. Not a political show, but real people looking for real answers. Amen.