Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels

If I were the parent today of a black child in America, my black child would never see the light of day without our entire black family in tow.

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If I were the parent today of a black child in America, my black child would never see the light of day without our entire black family in tow: We would do all shopping together, all social calls and my black child would be home-schooled in the safe sanctuary of our black home.

This means that, should our black family be stopped by a white cop for a minor “mechanical failure” — what police departments across America classify as broken license plates lights, broken tail lights or headlights — and something goes awry, then that white cop will have to murder us all, all there together in a single mass murder.

Is this too far-fetched, cloaked too heavily in anxiety, fear and outlandishness?

These “what if” scenarios are for me — I do not now nor have I ever spoken for the black family of man — the rants of what being black in America means.

This is what being black-skinned feels like.

Like fear and anxiety.

Because it is clearly open season in our streets on black boys and men by white cops.

There has been such a succession of white-cop-on-black-male killings that it’s almost laughable, except ain’t shit funny. I mean, you know that uproarious, nervous laughter that falls from your face when the improbable keeps happening and happening and happening, kicking and throttling you so low to the ground you don’t think you will ever stand up, not to mention recover?

When God or somebody just keeps whupping your emotional and psychological ass to the point of absurdity and you just have to look around to see if anyone else is getting this same beating?

This is blackness in America now.

The wrong-headedness of American white cops is now so brazen and off-kilter that black men are being treated like Jews in Nazi Germany at the height of Hitler’s insanity.

Our men are now being gunned down like caged animals raised for death sport in one of those enclosed hunting parks.

But it’s not just rogue white cops policing black communities across an expanse of racial and cultural ignorance and therefore fear. It’s entire police departments rife with and run by the white male power structure that refuses to recognize its own sickness.

When everything is homogeneous and everyone looks and behaves the same, what could possibly be wrong?

The word diversity has been rendered flaccid and ineffective by decades of forced corporate retreats and empty workplace surveys, but there is something to diversity when it is put into action in the places it’s most needed, and right now we most need it in our police departments.

Used to be black parents only had to worry about their young black boys, their Emmett Tills and their Trayvon Martins because, ah, well, boys will be boys. But black boys?

They will be dead boys.

But for at least the last 25 years (and who’s counting but we nervous-ass blacks?) black men cannot be trusted to leave home and return alive, because dirty, rotten white cops cannot be trusted.

If this ain’t you, then don’t be mad.

And if this ain’t you, then chances are you know a bad white cop and your silence at his misdeeds bloodies your hands and muddies your salvation, too.

I am frozen with anger and indignation, yet sisters and aunties and friends like me are supposed to remain cool-headed and be all intellectual and level and loving the next time we hug the necks of our black men kin when, really, I want to whisper to them before I pull away: Do not run. Face your hater so he will have to remember the look in your eyes.

I want to tell this to Randy, Kenny, Kenny, Jr. and Kyler.

I want to shake Nasim about the shoulders and tell him: Be Aware! Be wary! Do not ever encounter the police if you can help it!

Really I want to warn them to never leave home; to find jobs they can do from their bedrooms; to venture into the world in twos, with one armed always with a recording device. Because without a recording device, it’s the white cop’s word against the dead black man’s police record.

Now my stomach burns and my head thuds with fatalism because it does not matter whom we belong to here or how much good stuff Clarence and Gladine poured into my brothers or Kenny and Kelli into their children or Kandice into her son.

They are all merely targets waiting for bullets.

Am I too far gone?

Pull me in if I am.

When was the last time you talked to your boy, your husband or your brother about making it home alive from a mundane day nobody saw ending in disbelieving, soul-crushing grief capped by a press conference?


Tell me, when?

Some blacks among us know American slavery went a long way to demoralize blacks and, ultimately, to plunge asunder the cohesiveness of the modern black family, tearing away as it did the parental units from their offspring.

So. Separation ain’t nothing new for us.

But murderous, lying white cops are a new coda to slavery’s conspiracy on black well-being.

It’s like the post script that never ends.

Stop. Sending. Me. Notes. To. My. Own. Undoing.

One thing we can learn from this carousel of trigger-happy white cops is that they, as we, do not exist or thrive in vacuums or on islands.

They come from communities that love and support them, too, so it is never a surprise that after a black man is left dead on some American city street, crowd sourcing pages spring up to raise money to help these people survive after all the trauma they’ve gone through.

After all, wrongdoers gotta eat, too; they have mortgages; kids to educate; car payments and utilities to pay for.

I wonder if any of that money is ever used for therapy, for anger management, to help the black family bury their dead?

Or do the white cops, at turns heralded and protected then investigated and exonerated, just go on living like nothing ever happened, spending that free money to rebuild an inconveniently interrupted life?

I’d love to ask one of them.

We never hear from them.

They stay silent as death.

CONTACT KATHY Y. WILSON: [email protected]

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