Yes, I Respect Good Cops But, I Still Fear For My Black Son (& Myself)

Photo credit: http://www.nydailynews.com

A few months back, the city was doing massive (annoying) construction on my street right in front of my apartment. While walking my son to school, he would point out the huge dump trucks, construction workers, and police men. When he pointed out a cop, I’d tell him “If you are ever in trouble and see a cop, go to them immediately and they will help you. They are good guys”.

I’d tell him “If you are ever in trouble and see a cop, go to them immediately and they will help you. They are good guys”.

On July 6th, Philando Castile was sitting in a car with his girlfriend and daughter during a racially charged traffic stop. According to the audio, the police officer Jeronimo Yanez said he was pulling the family over because their wide set noses resembled that of a potential robber (a robber linked to a mysterious robbery that has yet to be confirmed). Philando had a license to carry a gun and had said gun in the car when the officer immediately opened fire and killed him while his girlfriend and 4 year old daughter looked on. This happened only days after the Alton Sterling murder by cop.

But, how do I explain to my son that yes, the police are here to protect and serve but they may also snuff out your life in a split second because you are a black man and that alone is a crime punishable by death?

So now, here I am as a mother completely twisted up with fear, anxiety, and despair. Good cops put their lives on the line for the safety of the general public, black people included, every single day. They die for us. They sacrifice for us. They commit their careers and lives to protecting us. But, how do I explain to my son that yes, the police are here to protect and serve but they may also snuff out your life in a split second because you are a black man and that alone is a crime punishable by death?

I know that, if you are reading this as a white person, it is very difficult for you to understand where I am coming from. I get it. I don’t understand the struggles of illegal immigrants in search of a better life here in America. But, the difference is that I empathize with them. I don’t need to understand their experience to do that.

See, he can grow up to be anything he sets his mind to but, at the end of the day, he will always just be another dangerous black man in the eyes of the law.

This state of unrest in my community effects me every single day as a parent as it does many other parents of color. I will never buy Miles a water gun. I struggle to imagine allowing him to go on a school trip without me. I can’t even fathom being able to let my child enjoy the things that make childhood fun because I don’t want him to die. See, he can grow up to be anything he sets his mind to but, at the end of the day, he will always just be another dangerous black man in the eyes of the law. What do I do? What do we do?

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2 thoughts on “Yes, I Respect Good Cops But, I Still Fear For My Black Son (& Myself)

  1. very well said my dear…i agree…with the situation that just happened what are we to tell our youth about cop encounters?? its to the point that we cant say anything, we have to just say “hey i just hope you make it home today”…and THATS the sad part, there is no hope on our part. smdh

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  2. I say teach them to defend themselves so they don’t need assistance from cops.. because you can’t tell who the good ones are just by looking at them. I think eight is the youngest you can train children to use firearms. He and his group of friends need to know how to fight and when to run and have other adults that they trust to help them. Help him to feel confident in the ability to sustain himself and his friends’ parents should do the same.

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