YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT: BLACK PEOPLE AND OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE POLICE

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“Why we fight.”

The Black community and the law enforcement have been at odds for decades in this country. But, unless you live among the problems, it’s quite hard to fully understand where it comes from. It’s easy to point out through the history with slavery and Jim Crow. But this goes far beyond those points in time in history. Are there any other issues that lead to this tumultuous relationship? I can name a few reasons as to why the police and the Black community have a history of bad blood. And not for reasons that we tend to talk about in the news.

One of the reasons has to do with the ethnic makeup of the police. Black and White people in America have had this history of mistrust in this country. That history goes back a few centuries that has gotten better, yet still exist. So now you look at the police and it is not a reflection of the community in which they’re serving. And to add to it, you have this Black community, and an all White police department. So old wounds are opened, even if the police are good cops. But why do the police themselves have issues with serving in these communities. It has to do with the police officers not living in the environment.

A lot of these cops who are White not only don’t live in the community, but they didn’t grow up here. For most of them, these are typically young White men, who grow up in neighborhoods totally different than the ones they’ll be policing. Not just the ethnic, but the cultural landscape is typically different than where they grew up as well. From the style of dress to the vernacular of the people who live in the area. And on top of it all, the attire has typically been criminalized. So guys are coming in with already their own mindset of the people that live there. But, there is another reason as to the issues between the police and the Black community.

Another issue is the fact that people within these communities never admit it, but tend to take issue with White authority. You may ask, what does that mean? Well, perception tends to cause a lot of problems. Because a police officer may state to someone in the community to do as you’re told. But how it’s interpreted, is seen as racially condescending. Is it that, most likely not, but that comment goes from zero to sixty fast. Because the officer sees it as not following authority, but the individual sees it as subversive racism. When these are the thoughts going through someone’s mind, it’s a wonder more incidents don’t take place.

In the end, there can’t be a society where the law enforcement and the community it protects is at odds. The police are not just community protectors, but are also first line of defense in case of a terrorist attack. So there has to be some form of coming together so that people and the police are not at odds.

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