Yesterday a six year old was shot in Philly and he is battling for his life as I write this post. That makes over fifty children (yes children) who have been shot in the city of not so brotherly love since the start of the year. (It’s April)
Now, more than ever, we need community leaders and those in law enforcement and politics to come up with solutions and stop giving lip service to stopping crime in the streets. We have to think outside the box and rethink the way we do things. And I’m not only talking about policing.
Now, having said that, let’s talk about police shootings and the dehumanization of Black and brown bodies in America of late.
If you are a Black person in America, you have been bombarded with images of state killings of Black children, and those in law enforcement abusing their authority. To say that we are exhausted would be an understatement.
While the trial of Derek Chauvin was going on, just ten miles away another Black man was shot to death by a police officer on camera. You can’t make this stuff up. Daunte Wright is another one of those names that we are going to be hearing a lot for all the wrong reasons. Lake Philando Castille and Tamir Rice before him, he paid with his life because so many people in law enforcement fear Black and brown men and harbor an implicit bias towards them.
If you think I am wrong, take a look at the video of a White man in Minnesota who dragged a police officer with his SUV, hit another officer with a hammer, and who is still alive. This is what infuriates people of color. Had that man been Black, we all know that his family would be getting out their best Sunday outfits for the funeral that was sure to follow. The running joke among Black folks is that we never have to hear the race of a mass shooter announced to know what their actual race is. We just have to know if he was taken alive. Taken alive equals White. Shot to death by law enforcement equals Black.
While I was writing this post, I watched yet another horrific video of the shooting and killing of 13 year old Adam Toledo by law enforcement in Chicago. Sadly, I can’t help but think of that word exhausted again. It just never seems to stop.
Policing is a tough job, and there are a lot of good men and women who do it. I know quite a few of them. But we have to get rid of the bad actors, and we have to properly train those who want to do the right thing and represent their departments in the right way.
I started this post by condemning the urban terrorists who terrorize black neighborhoods, but they are criminals who have to be dealt with. I don’t want the people who we pay to protect and serve to become like those that they are supposed to be protecting us from. When we reach that place in society, we might as well pack it in and head to our underground silos.