I hate to share this video, but this is the harsh reality…the stark contrast between these two incidences are astonishing! The contrast is not just because of the race of the people involved but because of the choices of the officers. Yes, they have choices! Being a police officer is a life and death job. Decisions have to be made constantly as to whether it’s your life or theirs. Sometimes those decisions warrant deadly force, other times those decisions warrant using the multitude of resources and training to handle the situation so everyone sees another day.
I wanted to share my thoughts in a video but my heart is so heavy I don’t think I would make it through. A friend posted this conversation on FB the other day:
My oldest son: What do I do if the police stop me and I haven’t done anything?
My heart is so heavy as I am truly afraid for my two boys.
This is from a young man who isn’t even out of school yet, yet this is what he has on his mind. Not because he has done something wrong or is thinking about doing something wrong, but because he hears and sees what is happening and that his chances may not be the best.
The comments from people on her post was to tell him to “just do what he is told and he will be fine.” One person comments: Look, Ive been in trouble many many times in my life..not once did I get abused, pushed, tazed, pepper sprayed, or anything out of the way!! Because you know what I did..exactly what the officer said do!! Now if I had resisted, what do you think would have happened!! Do exactly what is told!!
Well, bravo for you sir, but your numerous encounters with the law and not being abused, tased, pepper sprayed, etc. is clearly not because you are a model citizen, but because you encountered police officers who did their jobs without abusing their power. Some people are not resisting they are simply asking questions. You should not be dragged out of a vehicle, thrown to the ground, put in a choke hold, or SHOT for asking “What did I do wrong?” “Why are you pulling me over?” “What is the problem, officer?” A person has every right to ask questions and receive answers if they don’t know what is going on. If you are clearly breaking the law, then you won’t have to ask these questions and you have no reason to NOT do as you are told because you know what the HELL IS GOING ON!!
This isn’t about following or not following instructions; this isn’t about all police being bad; this isn’t about whether someone feels threatened or not; this is about people making choices about who they feel is worthy of life and who is not. This is about those who abuse their power. This is about people who feel so disgusted with their own lives (whether they have a badge or not) that they feel like they can make themselves feel better by taking another person’s life (murder/suicides). This is about those who haven’t learned that their are options to resolving conflict (man shoots two people after losing bet). This is about young men, going about their lives being gunned down in the street because of someone’s perception of who they are or what they might do. This is about those in law enforcement who murder someone not being held accountable. This is about men of color being considered a threat just because they are men of color. This is about the lives of our sons, daughters, fathers, brothers, family members who are not being heard but are being condemned and murdered in the streets and then being judged by public opinion about what they SHOULD have done! What they SHOULD have done is made it through the situation alive…incarcerated, if necessary…but ALIVE!!
My heart is heavy because my sons are about to take a well-deserved vacation together and travel to the West Coast. While I am excited for their opportunity to take this trip, I am doubly fearful that they may go to the wrong place, say the wrong thing, look the wrong way, walk the wrong walk, wear the wrong clothes, listen to the wrong music and be judged and convicted by the wrong person who is having a bad moment, day, life. That’s why my heart is heavy, not because I think they may commit a crime, but because I’m afraid they may be seen as a threat because they are brown men who carry themselves with confidence and are eager to experience the gift of travel, to explore new things, and share lived experiences. My heart is heavy because I love them and they are my life’s blood and while I want to keep them close and safe I know it’s out of my hands. So at the end of the day the only comfort I have is Prayer and Faith which gives me a peace that passes all understanding. So I will bid them a safe trip, pray while they are away and rejoice when they return!
It amazes me how I have looked at something many times and not until today did it speak to me in a different and profound way. Something as simple as a commercial gave me a different perspective on challenges and obstacles of life. This particular commercial is from Geico and it is the one with the fisherman telling a tale about a huge fish the size of his boat that he was wrestling with. He told them that after 7 hours he declared “YOU WILL NOT BEAT ME!” Just as he shares that declaration, his friend comes up with a small fish and asks what he wanted him to do with it. Obviously caught in quite the “fish tale” he tightly tells his friend to put the fish in the cooler while his audience looks on. After looking at this commercial for probably the 100th time, I realized that life’s challenges can be just like that fish tale. How often do we see an obstacle or challenge and think it is bigger than our boat (life). We struggle and wrestle with it declaring that it will not beat us, but in reality it is a small situation that can be easily handled. How often I have stressed over what seemed to be an enormous situation only to have someone else show me that it really is quite manageable. My giant fish will not beat me when I keep in mind that it really is small enough to fit in the cooler. Breathe deep and Handle Life like a Trout and not a Whale!
https://youtu.be/TfBSPyCPVsE (click or copy and paste link to see commercial)
Let me make it perfectly clear that there is no…I’ll say that again…NO correlation between my disciplining my children and an officer of the law physically assaulting a child…excuse me….a BLACK child. For those who are trying to, once again, find a connection between parents who discipline their children by spanking, popping the butt or legs, tapping a hand, or what have you, to society feeling like it is okay to drag a 16 year old girl out of her chair and across the floor, may as well try to harness the wind or catch oil in your grasp. Yes, I used spanking as a form of discipline with my children because I wanted them to know that spanking was “a” not “the” form of consequence for their actions. They also received time-outs, punishments of being in the house, no tv, no toys, and very stern talks. However, just because I spanked…not BEAT…spanked my children, I was not diminishing who or what they were to become, neither was I telling them that this was the expectation that they should have from society. I agree that corporal punishment in and of itself may not produce a positive outcome, but it can be effective when used along with consistency, admonishing, love, and support. A spanking, punishment, discipline from a place of love, boundaries, and correction is very different from a beating from anger, hatred, and abuse! The Baltimore mom who was seen on television hitting her son because she was so appalled and afraid at what she witnessed her child doing was both applauded and criticized. Applauded by media saying they were glad to see a mom who was taking control of a young black man in the wrong. Criticized by others (you know who you are) because of “How” she was taking control of a young black man in the wrong. Black mothers, especially, are in a no win situation. If we correct our children physically, we are being abusive, if we don’t correct them physically, we are being punks or irresponsible. My children learned that if they displayed unacceptable forms of behavior that there would be age appropriate consequences. That did not make them perfect children, but it made them adults with a conscious and a knowledge that for every action there is a counter action. That being said, they also knew that they had every right to feel safe and protected by me and their father. That they did not have to relinquish their rights as a person just because they grew up in a household where discipline was enforced. Because I spanked my children, also did not send a message to society that it was okay for anyone to treat them as if they were less than human. My children have been taught to respect authority but to also feel that they have the right to question authority when they feel they are being treated outside of the dignity and respect of being a human being. What the officer did, and also the school administration did, was to strip this 16 year old girl of her dignity and respect and treated her as if she was less than human. I fault the teacher and administrator for not having the classroom management skills to handle the situation because this was clearly not a law enforcement level incident. In turn, the officer took it to a level of wrestling down a 200 lb man who was tearing up a bar or robbing a liquor store. The officer’s response is sickening, but the fact that there are those who now want to blame parents who spanked their children as the reason why this officer or any other law enforcement representative feels it is okay to physically assault this young lady or any other black child is as bad as blaming the victim for being assaulted.
Dear Church People
When you say you are praying is it for my destruction because I make you uncomfortable or are you truly praying as an agent of God
When you say God loves me is it only if I live the life that you think I should live or does He love me as the creature He made
When you say you understand, do you only understand that my sin is bigger than yours or do you truly understand who I am and what I feel
When you hug me is it out of love or pity
Dear church people when you look at me and my life, are you looking down or lifting up
Are you judging my sins by your standards or are you accepting that we ALL fall short
Dear church people when you wonder why I don’t come to church, do your think it’s because of the sin in my life or do you realize that it’s because of you, church people, who judge my life, condemn my choices, pray for my destruction, lie while smiling in my face, praise God while worshipping yourselves….
Dear church people, while you are blaming the destruction of morality of this land on me and my life do you remember the immoral choices you have made, the lies you have told, the behaviors that you have exhibited in your life that would be displeasing to a Holy God
Dear church people, I too pray….For You
Since it’s Throwback Thursday, I dusted off this little diddy that was written a few years ago…it’s also an ode to Allergy Season…you’ll see!
Portrait of a Poet
I could continue this ongoing fight, but what would I really gain
The way I see it, the true victory will only come when I lay down the weapons of battle
and start the peace talks all over again
This battle can easily be discontinued by letting the enemy know that I no longer believe in
or fear its power or lack thereof
How does one profess to being a writer when they are afraid to write?
Afraid of the venom that may leak out once pen meets paper
The fear of revealing one’s true thoughts, feelings, emotions, triumphs, failures, flaws, and character
can be very strong deterrents in achieving a career as a writer.
However, the flip side of this coin is that many have found great healing of some of these same ailments
just by simply voiding their souls onto a piece of paper and thereby
ridding themselves of these restless spirits to move forward to a more peaceful plane in their lives.
How is it possible to fear the one thing that I want most in life? Can I really be afraid of the exposure?
What will my writing truly reveal if I were to allow pen and paper to become the tools for which my soul uses for healing? Am I afraid of the revelations that the answers to these questions will bring?
This mirror is getting more and more difficult to look into.
It feels as though it’s spring and the weather is warm, the breeze is blowing just gentle enough
so that the curtains will dance a slow rhythmic waltz once the windows are opened.
The flowers are presenting their best colors and the world seems to be at peace with itself
and then I close my eyes and revel in nature’s symphony of new birth as the birds chirp in harmony.
I take a deep breath ready to inhale all the aromas of the earth and just when I begin
to feel the deep commune with God, Heaven and Nature