Thursday, February 10, 2011

Welcome to my world~A very personal diary

I had to calm down and do a lot of praying before writing this diary. Yesterday I received the kind of news every black mother, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother, god mother, cousin dreads. Someone I love was racially profiled by the people who are paid to protect and serve us. Contrary to popular opinion, largely due to media driven stereotypes, all young black men are not thugs, pimps and criminals, nor do they all look alike.
Stereotypes are a pet peeve of mine. I see the damage that stereotypes do and how it leads to demonetization of innocent people. Stereotypes are fed to Americans like apple pie and hot dogs and some people tend to gobble them up as if they are the truth and nothing but the truth. And white folks tend to cling to every stereotype of blacks as a reality of who black people are as a whole.
This is a true story with names redacted to protect the innocent.

Earlier this week XXXXXXX was attacked by four ZZ police officers. It was 7:30 PM and he was walking home from a restaurant a few blocks from his house. He said he heard footsteps behind him and he started walking faster because he thought he was about to be mugged.

They came from him from behind, pushed him face down into the snow, never identifying who they were. They knocked him around pretty bad, bruise his face and hand-cuffed him. By then he figured they were police officers and he asked them what was going on. They said he fit the description of a suspect, young black male, 6 ft. tall. Now mind you XXXXXXX lives in ZZZZZZZ, ZZ, so that is the description of mostly every young male. They searched him saying they were looking for a gun, of course he didn’t have one. He only had his keys and his ID. Once they didn’t see a gun they let him sit up (all this time his face was on the ground in the snow.) They asked him where he lived and worked, when they found out he worked for a TV station, he said their whole tone changed. He said they became polite and started apologizes for any “inconvenience.” Then they let him go.

Needless to say, he was very upset, not understanding why this would happen to him. I told him he could have been Barack Obama walking down that street in Brooklyn and the same thing could have happen to him. Unfortunately, some things never change.

The lawyers at his TV station are looking into it, because everyone at his station knows what a good kid (well man) he is.

I realize that it could have been worse, so I thank God that it is only a few bruises. But I am hurt, mad, and I feel like kicking some ZZZ cops butt right now.

I really can’t talk about it without getting too emotional, so forgive me for not calling, we will talk later. In the mean time thanks for letting me vent.

Please keep XXXXXXX and all of our children in your prayers.

This is the America black children and black parents live in. President Obama had the perfect opportunity to address this issue following the arrest of Dr. Henry Louis Gates but he chose to have a beer summit instead.

Am I the only one saw the the whole thing as some surreal manifestation of the superficial nature of race relations in A-merry-ca? The staging, the forced camaraderie, and --I am sure--- the perfunctory nature of the discussion. Isn't that how we interact with each other on a daily basis?

Quoting GrannyStandingforTruth
Never in a million years did I think I would live to see a black man become President of the Divided States of America. Nor did I think I would live to see Jim Crow and lynching revived under the leadership of a black President either, but well there are some folks in America that are longing for those nostalgic days.

Welcome to my world.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately this is too common! This is something we read about and see on the news each and every day. Remember Sean Bell on 23 years old, killed the night before his wedding
( Or more recently 20-year-old Danroy “DJ” Henry, a college student shot by NYC police. (

This has to stop. This is not 1960, this 2011. This is an epidemic that is out of control and it is time to take a stand and say NO MORE.

Redeye said...

It's dangerous to be black in America. I agree it has to stop, but who will stop it and when?

writechic said...

I'm sorry this is the world we live in. :-(

I'm afraid this won't end until little by little, the bigots die out. Maybe things will improve with the shifting demographics in America.

Redeye said...

Bigots don't die, they mulitiply.

~Chip :) said...

First off, I'm very sorry that this happened. I know it sounds perfunctory and hollow, but it is heartfelt.

Harassment like this is really legalized oppression. The action, with the element of "surprise," begins by frightening the target to confuse and disarm him. Then, when he is sufficiently fearful, they gang up on him.

Fortunately, he didn't resist, or they would have used it as an excuse to rough him up.

As any law-abiding citizen knows, the police exist to protect you.


Now this young man has learned what legions of men before him learned: suspect and fear the police first because that is what they will do to you.

I don't know if this is good advice or bad - (I suspect bad, as it will insure that he is targeted) - but I wonder if he shouldn't contact a good civil rights lawyer, and file a police report that he was assaulted.

Lawmen aren't above the law, nor can they be allowed to act as though they are. I am sure that there are wise elder men who have more practical experience than I do, though.

Redeye said...

Fortunately they didn't kill him. That's the reality black folks live with when stoped by the police. We don't know if they are friend or foe. And that's a damn shame.

~Chip :) said...

Not only a damn shame, but an affront to our American principles carried out by public servants sworn to uphold the Constitution.

Turns out the majority of officers don't know much about the oath they've sworn.

It looks as though the focus is on other numerous and systemic abuses, like those that result in death or occur in prison.

You'll see that if you flip through this 15-screen NAACP powerpoint, "Effective Outreach to Law Enforcement."

The last screen shows contact info for two NAACP representatives. One of them focuses on "Law Enforcement Accountability" and the other on "Criminal Justice."

Might want to drop them a note of information, asking them for suggestions.

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Redeye said...

Chip, how did you insert links in your comment?

~Chip :) said...

Man Beaten in Surveillance Video

Evelyn said...

A complaint should definitely be filed. His station should investigate and run a story.

Miracle Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebel Flower said...

While I do agree with the sentiments of anger and outrage, there is nothing that Obama can do about racial profiling. Him intejecting and having that beer summit squandered political capital and lowered the office of the president. The sad fact of life is that prejudices exist and with this tea party nonsense, we have a veiled covert way to be racist in the name of nationalism. While all black men aren't thugs, pimps and criminals, it's hard to get the images of Flavor Flav, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne and Waka Flocka out of your mind. We as a people are responsible for most of these stereotypes that poison the minds of the american public at large. I can't tell you how many young black males I supervised on probation with no jobs, no education, multiple kids, multiple baby mamas, who only saw 5 min. in front of their faces.

He should file a claim for if the cops didn't have reasonable cause to stop him or that a felony had been committed.

Redeye said...

Rebel Flower,
50 cent, Lil Wayne and Waka Who ever are not the norm, they are the exception. As a matter of fact they are the media driven sterotypes that promote the racism. And who owns the media? Not Lil Wayne and company.

As for the people who supervised on probation, they are the victims of their enviroment not the cause.

President Obama is the most visible and powerful man in the free world. And YES HE CAN do something about racial profiling under color of the law. He can sign an executive order effective immidiately.

Filing complaints and going to court don't always work. Case in point.

Welcome to Redeye's Front Page Rebel Flower. Thanks for commenting and don't be a stranger.

Redeye said...

Correction, should read as for the people you supervised on probation they are the victims of their enviroment not the cause.

I'm still trying to figure out how to insert links in my comments (hint hint) but cut and past the link provided in your browser until I figure it out.

Anonymous said...

I know the family involved and that young man is far from a "suspect". I have a 12 yr old young son and things must CHANGE, they must.

Redeye said...

Even if he was suspect, he deserved to be treated with dignity and repect. It's innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent. At least it used to be that way.

Rebel Flower said...

I don't know all the facts of the case. Was there a felony committed in the area? Did he in fact meet the description of the suspect?

Obama cannot sign an executive order regarding racial profiling. That's not within his constituional powers as president. This is something that either Congress will have to deal with or some case will have to go to the Supreme Court with. Sadly, I disagree that Lil Wayne is norm and young men like the one you described are the exception. Times have changed and they have changed for the worst. While some are victims of environment, at some point it becomes a matter of choice and personal responsibility. You choose to go class, you choose to not to do drugs, or sell drugs. You choose to go to college, you choose not to get people pregnant, or become a deadbeat parent.

He should file a complaint, however it sounds as if he was simply being identified and more than likely won't recover damages unless he didn't match the description of the suspect or used excessive force.

Redeye said...

Just because some chose to be a deadbeat dad, do drugs etc. doesn't mean everyone chooses to be a deadbeat dad, do drugs etc. That's called sterotyping which leads to profiling. And even if someon is a dead beat dad or does drugs they still have basic human and civil rights.

rebel flower said...

I am talking about personal responsibility and I never said that anyone should have his civil rights violated. I never made a generalized statement saying that all or everyone chooses to do drugs. I simpky stated a fact, that the young black males that are doing positive things are not the norm and havent been for a while. There is a disproportionate amount of blacks in the criminal justice system, absolutely, but we have a systemic problem within our community that needs to be addressed. Thats not what I am talking about. Yes everyone has the right to be treated equally and with civility. Profiling exists because it exists. Saying that a young black male or a white with blond knocked over a liquor store is not profiling. Unless you know of a another way to id a person. Now if we are discussing federal sentencing guidelines or the fact a person will get more time for crack than cocaine, thats more plausible.

Redeye said...

I respectfully disagree with your assertion that young black males doing positive things are not the norm. Colleges and Universities all over the country are full of young black men doing positive thing. Our military is full of young black males doing something positive. Our churches are full of young black men doing positive things and making a difference.

The description provided in this case was a young black male 6'ft tall. That could be anybody's son, father, brother, cousin, husband, nephew, friend, pastor, doctor, lawyer, or President.

Read the post and the comment and the comment from chip again for a broader prospective. This is the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, with liberty and justice for all. Remember?

Rebel Flower said...

You can respectfully disagree, but I have a degree in crime, and worked in the juvenile and adult criminal justice system. Plus, the Uniform Crime Report and other statistical data suggests that I'm right. College enrollment for black men have on the decline for about 10 years. As far as the military is concerned, how many black officers do we have? Not just grunts.

I will say again, I am not making a generalization about all black men or the entire black race, but if any of you think that the black race is blameless in the ills that plague it then there is a huge problem. I am well aware of the nature vs. nurture argument, my position is that at some point we have choices and free will, and environment cannot be used as an excuse continuously.

If this young man was jumped on without any identification by the cops, then he needs to sue for false imprisonment and having his civil rights violated. That's kind of why I asked in an earlier post if there were any other info given other than height and being a black male. You said, "They said he fit the description of a suspect, young black male, 6 ft. tall." Legally speaking, if a crime was committed by a black man, that was 6'1 IN THAT AREA, that's is not racial profiling. That's the distinction I think everyone is missing. If a white male committed the crime and they stopped a black male, that would be racial profiling. You don't have to agree, but that is what is legal. That's the law.

I believe some details are missing from this story, that's maybe why I am having trouble with the veracity of it, but regardless, this is not a case of legit racial profiling.

I am fully aware of what country we live in, and that's irrelevant to the topic at hand. That fact is a relevant to a drowning man holding a photo of oxygen.

Redeye said...

I think black folks are the victims of the ills that plague them.

Are there some criminals in this world we live in? Yes. Are all of them black? No.

Maybe the problem you have with seeing legit racial profiling in this case is because racial profiling is not legit. It's not a crime to be a young black male 6' tall.

Rebel Flower said...

I also believe that black people are the cause of some the ills that plague them. The victim card becomes a tough sell after about age 18, and I'm generous with that. Again, just like with everyone else, it comes down to personal responsibilty, or are you one of the people that advocates for "ebonics" because blacks are raised in a different environment and therefore speak differently. Of course not. You probably thought that was idiotic, and an insult to our ability to learn, which is where your argument is heading.

I never said that ALL criminals were black. That's absurd. What I am talking about is not racial profiling.

How would you describe the appearance of a person that you have never seen? What about their build, their hair, eye color? You would just leave their race and gender out? That's part of their physical description. It's just a guy or a girl, nothing else? Come on...

You are correct that it's not a crime to be a young black male and 6'1. Nor is it a crime to be a female with blond hair and brown eyes.

However, if a crime was committed in the area, and the perpetrator was black, about 6 ft tall, and between the age of 18-25, then the cops have probable cause to stop him. That's why this isn't racial profiling, that's the distinction between DWB and actually trying to identify someone.If we don't use physical descriptions, how do you propose we describe one another? By telapathy? Shoe size? Musical taste? That's the law.

Redeye said...

Key words;
if a crime was committed in the area, and the perpetrator was black, about 6 ft tall, and between the age of 18-25, then the cops have probable cause to stop him

We don't know IF a crime was committed in the area. We don't know IF the alleged perpertrator was black, and about 6 ft. tall. We don't know IF the alleged perpertrator was a between the ages of 18-25.

Stopping, arresting, questioning, roughing up all tall young black men between the ages of 18-25 is profiling. And it's wrong. All white women/men aren't randomly stopped, interrogated, roughed up and possibly killed when the perps fit their descriptions.

This young man only "crime" was being a tall, young black man between the ages of 18-25 walking alone at night. I'm thankful he wasn't another Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, and many others.

Rebel Flower said...

Didn't you say in the original post that they were looking for the perpetrator of a crime that fit this young man's description? All I'm saying is If a crime was committed then No it's not profiling. If a crime was not committed or a person of another race committed the crime then it is.

It is never ok, to arbitrarily round up a group based on race, gender or socio economic status and I know you are smart enough to know that's not my argument. That's illegal, unconstitutional and morally reprehensible.

I was simply giving you a reason as to why he was stopped, legally and what his recourse was. Why it may or may not be profiling. So, there you go, you have both sides of the argument.