Young Black Males and Police Brutality

Mike Brown, Vonderrik Myers, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Ezell Williams…  Some of the recent black men killed by the police…

I had mentioned a bit ago how I have started to “wake up” in regard to how young black males are treated in our society.  And how I don’t know why I feel so strongly lately, except that the Mike Brown case in St. Louis really moved me as I’m from there.

I have been wanting to personally do something to help this situation but haven’t figured out just what as yet.  It’s interesting how we wake up to different things at different times.

With Mike Brown, in case you don’t know, a grand jury is now deciding whether or not to indict Darren Wilson, the policeman who shot and killed this 18-year-old.  If I had to bet the ranch, I would say that he won’t be indicted.  What makes this case particularly ugly is how Mike Brown’s body was left in the street for 4 1/2 hours after he was killed, how a real police report has as yet to be filed, how Darren Wilson has gone into hiding and if not indicted will just disappear off the face of the earth.

Police brutality is brutal.  The idea of firing 17 shots at someone, at shooting them in the face as with Mike Brown and Vonderrit Myers, shows that the police are so terrified of young black men that they want to be sure beyond any doubt that they are dead.

It is so different between how blacks are treated and how whites are treated in our society.  I am thinking of the Pumpkinfest riots in new Hampshire this week-end where college students went nuts and tore up the town and for quite a while the police just stood by and did nothing.  If this had been a group of young black men, what do you think would have happened?

The biggest thing I can do is to confront the racism in myself.  I am afraid of young black men on the street.  I have that mentality.  I treat them like criminals because I have been brainwashed by the news and have also encountered some bad situations with young black men.  But I have encountered some bad situations with young Hispanic men and young white men, but the black encounters are the ones that stick with me.

It’s ugly, racism.  It’s like you don’t know where to start because this stuff is so deep and so deeply engrained.  I grew up in segregated St. Louis and learned how to be afraid and it’s in my DNA now.

Bu I want to confront it.

Vonderrick Myers was buying a turkey sandwich at the corner market before he was killed twelve days ago.  The off-duty police officer who killed him said at one point that Vonderrick jumped out of the bushes and attacked him.  Then when it was pointed out that there weren’t any bushes around, the report was changed.  The police officer said that they wrestled on the ground and that during the struggle his sweatshirt came off.  But the surveillance camera at the corner market where he’d been minutes before showed that he wasn’t wearing a sweatshirt.  The report was changed again.  The gun that Vonderrit was said to have had and fired first at the police officer was reported to be a certain kind, then later changed.   This just makes you wonder what else was done or changed or concocted…

I recently read that every 24 hours a young black male is killed by the police in the United States.  One year from now 365 more young black males will be dead.  I am trying to think of how I can help to end this problem, how I can become part of the solution


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