Monday, May 16, 2016

The Black Policeman

I have been a police officer for the past 10 years—wait I have been a black police officer for the past 10 years. You may ask why the distinction? Being a black police officer has many challenges, one of them being the shrinking numbers of us across the country, but I digress. This is about being a black police officer, while at the same time policing predominantly black neighborhoods, where many folk are just trying to get ahead. Folks in these communities are underserved, met with few too little opportunities, and are too often left wondering how are they going to make it. But how does one police these neighborhoods? I unlike most officers come from these same neighborhoods, my mom struggled as I came up, and just the other day loathed the fact that she couldn't help me through college. So I understand the plight, I get it, but the question remains, how do you police these neighborhoods? What is the quintessential formula if there is one to getting it right? I'll start by describing how I personally take on the challenge. You see I police with compassion and empathy. I know the struggle, I don't approach every black dude like he's a gang banger up to no good (not sayin every cop does, but it happens, let's be real), why because I am them, I have friends who look like them who are thriving with great jobs, and are supporting their families the right way. 

But you may be thinking great, they must love you down there...you'll be surprised by my next few words. You see I'm not received 100% of the time with the proverbial loving arms, in fact I'm met with scowling eyes, and looks of disgust, by my own people. "Come on black man, you gone do this to me, we both black" " You ain't shit, just working for the white man, you see we struggling out here." I can go on and on with the negative colloquialisms and would probably run out of space. I mean it's ridiculous. I have to constantly remind myself that they don't see me in a Nike sweat suit with air max on. They see this uniform that in some cases represents oppression, fear, and harassment. They see authority, they see in some cases, especially over the last few years, a misuse of power. They see killers. They see a lack of compassion and empathy.  They really don't see me, at least the real me. If they only knew that I was an ally, one who's gonna cut them a break when I could, give them advice on how to get ahead a life, and how to seek out better opportunities if they would listen. You see I come in contact with so many people, it would be a travesty if I didn't at least try to help....within the scope of my job obviously. But to be honest it's frustrating. WE be out here all wrong, driving with no license, ain't showed up for tickets in years, so they pissed when you stop them and have to impound their ride. WE roll with our music so loud you can hear it blocks away, WE drive without regard for the rules of the road, and lord have mercy if I had a dollar for every time WE jaywalked, then got pissed and looked at me like I was wrong for stopping them. WE drive our cars on city streets with our kids not properly restrained, hell and we don't like to wear our seatbelt (a recent rant-"It's my life why tf I gotta wear it?"). Not all of us, but in the hood this is what I deal with, and I'm always saying, just go to court, ask for help try to get your license. If I had to put it in numbers , hell 1 in 3 don't have a license, because it's suspended or revoked. 

Sometimes it's trying, and I feel like just quitting and taking my degrees and going to  find a job in the private sector and just be well off. But during black grad, the keynote speaker challenged us to be great, and to stand in the gap, and open doors for other blacks to enter and grab opportunities. The speaker said you're not out here to just look out for you and yours, but to really Help out your fellow black man. So I guess this is why I won't leave the police department. Somebody has to listen to our voice, somebody has to be there as an example of the possibilities that are out there, somebody has to be there to open the door for other black folk, and We have to have a voice in that room and a seat at that table and more importantly,  someone of color has to be out in our communities, because on the flip side and I'll end it here, what makes it all worth it is when I hear, "good to see you black man, it's not enough of y'all out here, keep up the good work"

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Racism Will Never Die....

The more and more I read and hear about stuff like this, I'm convinced that racism in America will never die. We as offsprings from those who were enslaved and brought to this country, and understanding this, must take every step and opportunity to better ourselves, defend ourselves, and ready ourselves for whatever challenge is thrown our way. In the 1800s and prior til the abolishment, our collective challenge was to be a free people....today our challenge remains one that is almost like grasping for air, ever escaping our reached out hands—a challenge to be even more free, a challenge to be left alone, free to live, free to dream, free to walk down the street with a pack of skittles, free to be great, free to be American, and capture all that is—just like every other non-black race in this country. Free to fill out a job application and have it looked at without prejudice. Free to wear a hoodie without fearful eyes, free to be wholeheartedly black with no regret or anxiety about what's lurking around the corner. Knowing that racism will never die, we must continue to live and do just as our ancestors did, thrive and press on despite the odds, despite faux news, and despite every negative connotation associated with the word black.....we were born into this mess, and through it all, we've still rose from the ashes. Be entrenched in your blackness, love your blackness, and to hell with any and everybody who as problem with our blackness 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Mr. Draconian bka Child Support

If you ever want to be depressed, try sitting in any family court room where child support is being ordered. 

Now before any of you get all riled up and up in arms, listen for a sec. Me and my wife watched as father after father was called up and asked to pay the piper. Some of these father's owed as much as $150,000, yes one-hundred and fifty thousand in arrears, on top of that 10% interest. One father pleaded with the judge to lower his payment because he was only making barely $1500 a month. Judge replied, "you know the interest payment alone is well over $700 dollars and you're asking for a payment of $200, granted." Another guy $95,000 in arrears, making $7.50 an hour, a lady ordered to pay almost $600 as she pleaded about how she was going to pay rent. And wait, lets not forget the unemployed, who the judge slapped a minimum wage child support order on them, which if not paid, will end up over $100k after interest and years of unemployment.

I ask you whats wrong with this picture? This is no way an attempt to justify not taking care of children financially by fathers or mothers, but what it is, is an attempt to shed light on some of these draconian measures strapped on the non custodial parents. These guys mentioned above will NEVER, ever, pay their child support off. They will NEVER be able to find gainful employment, or buy a home, or try to go to school in an effort to gain better employment, and credit will be forever screwed. They will for the rest of their lives, be imprisoned by this system. By the way, how does it make sense at all to cash strap an unemployed person with a child support order, knowing full well that he or she will fall into arrears and end up owing thousands of dollars that will never be paid off. And how is it that the law requires a man to look for a job, and ask if he is physically able to work, meanwhile the mother is not asked these same questions or forced to find employment.

This system has been around since the 1980s and to my knowledge there has been no attempt at overhauling it. This system keeps men and some women at poverty levels because of what the system told them to pay. How can they even enjoy their kids when they don't have the money to take and do anything with them. Sorry but its only so long before the kids get tired of going to the park. What father does not want to take his daughter out on a date, or take her shopping, or perhaps take his son to the batting cages, or even take them both on a family trip. This is just the tip of the iceberg folks, lets not even get into the racial disparities regarding this topic. I feel like the system needs to change and some level of accountability needs to be inserted and the payments should not be based on income, but rather the children's needs. If a dad is making $50k a year and is paying x amount in child support, but gets a raise to $90k and is hauled back into court for more support, has the needs of the child changed, NO, but his support will.  I ask, on what planet does it take $3, $4, or even, $5 thousand dollars to raise kids? I submit that this system is set up to just perpetuate poverty. Something needs to be done......

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day or Nah?

I've seen conversation this morning about African Americans being conflicted about celebrating our country's independence from Great Brittain. Especially when our ancestors were not even counted as human beings in 1776. It is definitely a sad, and horrible situation. However, as I ponder this situation, I can't say that I am conflicted. Yes, I'm perfectly aware of our country's past. Our people were enslaved and beaten, our women raped, and our newborns killed. But now what, even today our men are enslaved, I mean imprisoned, excuse me. Our women are not held holy and dignified in the media. They are depicted as less than the ideal of beautiful. Our educational institutions in our neighborhoods are less than acceptable. Our opportunities are far and few with no equal opportunity at times. As tragic as our past was, and still is, I'm  looking to the day where there are no Fergusons, Baltimores, and McKinneys. We as a nation have come along way, and I'm truly proud of the progress we have made and continue to make. I'm freely typing this on my iPhone with no fear whatsoever. This is the freedom I enjoy, you enjoy. While I'm aware of the disproportionate way in which we are treated by the criminal injustice system, it is still a choice to be caught up in criminal activity, though some would argue that we really have no choice given our lack of opportunity, but I digress. But the aforementioned reasons listed above is why I celebrate Independence Day, not because in 1776 my people were enslaved, but because today, you can wake up and throw the Q on the grill and sit back and enjoy your family, and do the Nay-Nay as your favorite trap music song comes on the radio. This is why I celebrate, and I will impress upon you to do the same. Continue to make strides, put yourself and others in a position to succeed, it is the only way to truly attain the community in which Dr King dreamed of. 


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Call a Spade a Spade...Please

Look I'm not the president and I'm not even an elected official. I am merely a public servant in the street level of government, and even then I have to watch the way in which my language comes across. 

But there is one thing that i can do, that it seems like my president cannot. Look we/you/me have to stop being so delicate with white america, and America period. When you get up to address the media regarding an act so full of hatred directed towards black people, you just gotta call a spade a spade. Look black people are discounted/killed and marginalized in this country, I don't want hear a dumbass media person start talking about the mental ineptitude of this mass murderer. Somebody needs to just say what this is. The Mayor in Charleston says this doesn't represent our town, really??? You have a confederate flag flying over the city, you have streets named after confederate leaders that black people drive on.....so while I hear your fake sympathy, it really doesn't mean anything...people love to sound sympathetic to our struggle, but ain't really doing nothing about it-period!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Blanket America

Look this blog is a direct result of the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. The mass shooting has left a reportedly 9 people dead. This shooting was carried out by a young white male, at a historically black church, that has been around since the days of slavery...now that I've gotten that narrative out of the way let me begin...

I love America, I really do. Even after a feeling of nostalgia overcame me at a Nigerian wedding. Had it not been for my ancestors being brought to this country, I may not have had the chance to write, let alone from my iPhone. 

It's hard not to blanket all of America with what has happened in Charleston, and I won't, because lord knows there are some folks in our county who don't see my blackness as a threat, but see me as a human being, one full of life and goodness. One that can add to our country's unique fabric, not one that' is treated like a virus or a worldwide pestilence that must be eradicated. But who has the answers? Why are my people continually gunned down by the police, unarmed? Why can't our young black children enjoy a summers day a local pool without being harassed, why can't my people worship their God without being shot down like dogs? You say post-racial, but this keeps happening to my people. White men are not gunned down or mass incarcerated. You've never heard of little Sarah being slammed to ground by the police clad in a bikini, just trying to have fun. These stories never originate in white America, or any other ethnic community in our country. So who's gonna answer, who's gonna be brave enough to sweep yet another black tragedy under the proverbial post-racial rug, who's gonna say black folks are just whining and complaining, who's gonna point out the fact that we have a black president? How many more examples have to play out at the expense and loss of black life before America wakes up and pulls back this damn blanket, this blanket that covers up all the nasty and vile things that happens to black Americans? Who?!

Unfortunately, I don't believe it will ever happen. Don't mean to be a cynic, but time and time again history has shown me what to expect. You want to learn about future behavior, study past behavior. Nothing about this great country's past, indicates that this will ever end. I suppose if one can walk into a church and murder black bodies, this example alone offers little to no hope at all. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Robbed!!!!!!!

Some may or may not agree with what ima bout to say, but who cares. Yesterday as we were welcomed into a Nigerian's home for the pre-wedding party, I could not help but feel out of place, not in a bad way tho, follow me...me and my wife were surrounded by Africans in every sense of the word, and while we are African American I couldn't help but feel left out, even robbed. The slave trade all those centuries ago devastated us as a people, then when we finally landed on the proverbial Plymouth Rock, we were stripped and beat of any culture of our homeland, this continues on to this day. This is why in my opinion we are lost as a people, we have no native tongue, no real traditions that are uniquely ours. We are literally a people without a home...We must discover ourselves and remember what made us strong, what made us endure centuries of brutality...sitting here waiting for the wedding to commence, looking at all the beautiful women in their traditional garb, makes me wonder, how would WE be had it not been for the slave trade.....