My first arrest came at 19, the summer I graduated high school. Disorderly Conduct and Underage Possession of Alcohol by a Minor. A Sunday sunrise game of crabapple baseball resulted in 5 cop cars showing up for 4 of us. One of the officers didn’t quite fit in with the good ‘ol boy routine they had going on and bailed right away. A neighbor had accused those “punk kids” of hitting their car with a baseball bat when they drove by. We hadn’t. We were, however, being loud and obnoxious teenagers from broken homes under the influence of PBR, weed and misguided aggression making a mess with crabapples all over the road.
I should of prefaced this with a statement about how that year almost the entirety of my crew was being harassed and locked up by these cops for something or another. A few of these altercations resulted in violence. Mine included. What I should of prefaced that with is that for 5 or 6 years prior to that we were all minors running around Five Forks, Georgia causing general mischief. We skateboarded everywhere they said we couldn’t, raided garages, stole from stores, crashed parties, harassed yuppies and were generally up to no good. Broken home kids breaking things as should be expected in a broken system made to keep people broken. We ran from the cops at every turn, but when they caught up with us there wasn’t a whole lot of punishment. My reflection on this now is that they were generally concerned about dealing with “agro” suburban parents. One thing I do know is that the kids that looked down there noses on us got off way easier than we ever did, sometimes for doing way more. Plenty of us went to juvey and that became more of a thing to the younger kids who ran with us. But once we all started turning 18 it was open season and there was some recompense to be had in the cops eyes. But we still got away with our lives. I got the crap kicked out of me but not before I had an opportunity to talk a bunch of shit, stash my weed inside the house (gotta keep those charges low) and behave like a Punk with a chip on his shoulder would. This is a privilege I had back then and I am more than happy to admit that and use it today for the right reasons.
Privilege; a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available to a particular person or group of people.
Tamir Rice was a 12-year old boy who was shot and killed by the cops for having a toy gun. The call made to 911 stated that he was a juvenile and the caller stated that gun was probably fake multiple times.
Breonna Taylor was a 26-year old EMT who was asleep before being shot 8 times on a no-knock warrant for a suspected drug house more than 10 miles away.
George Floyd was a 46-year old man who was a mentor in his community and who seemed loved by all. A white officer knelt on his neck with his hands in his pocket for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while he begged for his life and called out for his mother and God. I could go on but I won’t.
“Open and shut case Johnson. I saw this once before when I was a rookie. Apparently, this ni**er broke in and hung up pictures of his family everywhere — well, let’s sprinkle some crack on him and get out of here.”
The thing that has made me the most upset in the last few weeks is the same thing that always happens. Misdirection of ones own guilt. It’s as if as soon as some of y’all were watching that video of George Floyd being murdered you were simultaneously googling reasons to character assassinate him. Common arguments using what they determine to be statistics or facts are always selective and narrated. It lacks perspective and discounts someone’s entire life experience. Saying things like “feelings aren’t relevant” are really annoying coming from people who genuinely get so upset at hearing the term White privilege that they spin into convos about “White genocide” or “reverse racism” while trying to say that we live in post-racism world at the same time. The fallacies are so often made that I literally can’t keep up.
I think instead of White people telling Black people to act more like Doctor King, they should look at what a real example of an ally is. John Brown or Jane Elliot to start. If you want to truly help heal a broken system then you should listen to those who live a life you couldn’t possibly understand. Read from Black scholars on the subjects instead of getting the views from internet talking-heads. And one Black person who may agree with your point of view does not represent the entire race on the subject.
It feels to me that a lot of the hostility comes from a fear that reconciliation of these issues means that you would personally owe something for your own transgressions. You do. Your time, understanding, open mind and open heart and most certainly your open eyes. The media is not telling you what’s happening out here and that’s from every side right now. I’ll get to more of that later in another post.
Acting as if you’ve never done or said anything racist is part of the problem here. We all have. You are being asked to be anti-racist. Level your pride and help heal this. Take initiative. This is about principles which this country was supposed to be founded on. Those principles were a lie and that lie grew and effected us all. Slavery turned into Jim Crow which turned into the Drug War and mass incarceration and the lines of intersectionality really start getting blurred from there. They use race as the construct to divide us from seeing that was how it was all designed from the beginning. It’s been taken a step further now using intersectionality to divide so that we don’t respect one another’s personal identities to keep us from unifying. For the land of liberty that’s kinda messed up.
Intersectionality; the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping systems of discrimination or disadvantage.
Supremacy; the state or condition of being superior to all others in authority, power, or status.
Exploitation; the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.
We all have fallen victim from this but our problem is that we can be inherently selfish. When our privileges are checked and challenged we get defensive because most people go through challenges and struggles in life. But if we get honest with ourselves and use humility as a principle then we can reconcile what was always broken to begin with. If you want America to really be great again then maybe accept that it wasn’t great for everyone to begin with and SAY IT OUT LOUD!!!
I want to get a piece out about what’s really happening with these peaceful protests all around Atlanta as I’ve been out there at many myself. But I do need to be careful with what I say for fears of people who genuinely want to cause harm. I will say that last night we had to ask people to leave before we marched because they were unwilling to allow their book bags to be checked. After what happened at Wendy’s (really happened) I thought y’all should know that everyone out here takes this very serious about being peaceful and there are some that are not from these communities coming in trying to make it not-so peaceful.