Something has happened to humanity. The atrocities police commit upon black citizens continue despite the civil rights gains, religious teaching, education, previous cases, etc. There is something inhuman about the police officer, who had his knee on George Floyd’s neck. He was deaf to Mr. Floyd’s pleas and repeated statement, “I can’t breathe.” He closed his ears to Mr. Floyd’s cry for his mother — his mother, who had already transitioned. In just eight minutes, the officer forgot his (own) humanity. Even the small crowd of concerned citizens gathered at the scene could not call him, or the three other officers with him, to their collective humanity.

I, a law-abiding black woman, have experienced unwanted and unnecessary police attention. The first time it happened, I was an eighteen-year-old college student. I spent one of the scariest nights of my life on the side of a Tennessee highway, wondering what was going to happen as the white officer harassed and belittled my father in my presence. I thought we were going to die.

The police stopped my son as a suspected burglar when he was a skinny, undeveloped high school student as he was riding his bicycle home from the tennis court; racket slung over his back. He came into the house, shaken by the encounter. I was angry, but mostly I was scared by the thought of what could have happened. It was then that I became anxious about my son’s survival as a young black man in America. I became fearful of the police and overprotective of him. I prepared him on how to respond when such occurred again.

Each incident where police officers shoot or choke African Americans leading to their deaths affects me. I feel for their families. It could have happened to several members of my family and me. Picking on black people has always been “sport” for them for generations.

I believe that those police officers’ actions were deliberate. Officers who kill black people are acting out of some individual and collective racial animus. They haven’t let go of inherent biases and environmental conditioning through their training. They view black people in the same manner as their ancestors did, which is less than human. How can such attitudes and actions be overcome? When those officers find their humanity – love, compassion, empathy, mercy, tolerance, etc. — then they can see humanity in black people and act accordingly.

Sadly, POTUS sanctioned racism in 2017 after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, when he spoke of Nazis and white supremacists as “good people.” He continues to perpetuate systemic racism through his tweets, rallies, and policies. People of goodwill have struggled and died to correct much of the systemic racism in America; however, there is still more that needs to be done to ensure “liberty and justice” for black citizens.

 I used to wonder if there were any good police officers. I know that there are some, but why does it seem that the good cops are never around when the killings happen? If there had been one good cop on the scene, she could have possibly called that rogue cop to his senses, his humanity, and prevented the death of another black man, George Floyd.

2 Responses

  1. Charles F. Gray

    Good article, so true. The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was in 2017, August 11-12, 2017. IMPOTUS was president at the time, not a candidate.