And now I lay me down to sleep, praying law enforcement through my window doth not peep, and shoot dead my niece babysitting her young keep.
My God, what have we done?!
Years and years, into decades, depicting and painting Black people as some kind of supernatural presence among us; as if to kill us with just a simple gaze. She looked at me through the window, is enough to shoot to kill?
Switch on the local news, or pick up an urban-informed newspaper any day of the week and what, pray tell, do you see splashed from the front page to 3A to the back? Black faces mangled in distress: “Wanted” reads the big bold headline. Threatening.
One can easily imagine retail outlets having plenty of video of white people “shoplifting”, yet day after day our eyes note only the stills of Black people. Threatening.
We have lots of white criminal “gangs” doing damage in rural landscapes, but it’s the Black urban gangs we see pictured that worry us. Fear doesn’t work so well when they look like us. Threatening.
As long as we continue to depict Black people as only or mostly a threat, and death as the worst possible outcome when interacting, rather than mistakenly killing the innocent, we will continue to see unarmed Black people shot dead by law enforcement.
Better to risk killing an innocent Black person than die oneself and risk eternity in hell. After all, I know I’ve been dirty at least sometimes; a society teaching the hell doctrine is rarely forgiving.
There was a time when Peace Officers left home every day knowing they might not return. The definition of serving humanity honorably is being willing to lay down one’s life.
Can we ever get that back?
It will start at the application process, weeding out cowards and bullies.
May that force rise again.
Evans lives in Black Creek.