Thursday, May 1, 2008

Surprise! The first post is not about how Sondra was useless.

I'd planned to start this blog with some deep reflection and then a wise crack about the Clan Huxtable. That'll have to just wait until later.
Instead, I'm posting as my first post here my most recent post from my NYC Blog.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about the Sean Bell acquittal.

Mostly I’ve been thinking, as AngryBlackBitch puts it, about “my brother, my cousins, my uncle, my friends and was my father and my grandfathers and others who have gone to be with God.”

I’ve been thinking about “…what the murder of Sean Bell translates to for me…how my mind instantly redirected to the black men I know, the weddings I have anticipated witnessing…to real people who could have and would have been shot dead as that night merged into morning because of what police officers thought was about to happen.”

My brother is unwell. So unwell, in fact, that he refuses to go to doctors or seek counseling to find out what the imbalance is so that it might be corrected. He has a history of making bad choices and finding himself in unfortunate situations. He has a familiarity with paranoid thinking that often borders on diagnosable. He hasn’t been able to answer a question without grandiose allegory since 2000. I have, on one scary occasion, gotten a called from Bellevue’s psychiatric wing about him.

He is young. He is angry. He is Black and he lives in America.

(I'm going to take a moment to let ya'll know that I was in highschool I made the, I thought, rather bold statement, "The only thing that I like about America is the fact that I don't have to like it." [As I'm sure you can surmise this did not go over well in my liberal New England highschool.] Since I've gotten older -more specifically since I began reading The Audacity of Hope one Christmas holiday at Girlfriend's mother's house- I've liked America for a few more reasons (which I won't get into right now) but I've also become, I think, a bit more aware about the America
in which I live. Every day is a movement towards clarity and generosity of thought.)

A friend of mine posed the following question on Facebook:
Are police and law enforcement ever good for black people?

I replied with the following:

I am not sure that the police are good for anyone.

As per the NYPD website, their mission is to “enforce the laws, preserve the peace, reduce fear, and provide for a safe environment” and apprehend those who offend the law so that they might be brought forward to receive punishment.

Their job is not to protect or help us. This fact already puts all of us as citizens at a disadvantage as far as the system goes.

The fact that the NYPD is powered human beings who bring to it a host of their own prejudices complicates the matter.
This is a complication that greatly impacts people of colour.
America has done a good job of systematically teaching us to fear people with brown skin. America has done an exceptional job of mythologizing Black people, specifically Black men, as threats. This doesn’t go away when someone joins the NYPD. In fact, due to profiling, it probably increases.

Didn’t the officers in the Sean Bell trial admit that they were scared [SCARED. Ain't that some shit. The police, the only people in the vicinity known to have guns were scared] of Mr. Bell and his associates? One could argue that those officers got off because the judge decided that their fear of Mr. Bell due to the colour of his skin was justified.
Judge: “They shot him because Black men are scary and (of course) carry guns and so that’s okay with me (and the system). Suck it!”

This is not to say that I am not for the enforcement of laws, preservation of peace and reduction of fear. This is not to say that I think that all police officers are bad. I just think that they’re human and they’re doing what is still a pretty dangerous job. It’s just that for most people with brown skin, a lot of the time the police officers are the danger.

I hemmed and hawed about whether or not to post this first in my NYC Blog.
Here’s what I’ve come up with:
What happened to Mr. Bell happened in The City so it is fair game.
It’s fair game because it says a lot about The City and it’s important to openly confront what it says and how we feel about what it says.
What happened to Mr. Bell says a lot not only about The City, but the America in which we live… so I’ve started this blog in which I will work on thinking critically about the America in which I live.

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