I remember reading a news article about the sheer number of molestations & rapes that occur in the US. I thought this would be your typical article about sexual assaults--statistics and graphs printed for shock value. And the proverbial list of what women should do to protect themselves. Instead the writer put the blame of the crime squarely on the shoulders of the attacker. We women shouldn't have to walk in pairs at night. We shouldn't have to have a gun or knife for protection. We shouldn't have to watch what we wear. We shouldn't have to take our drink with us because someone might slip something in it. Rapists shouldn't rape. Problem solved. And what a concept! How refreshing and new to shame the criminal instead of the victim, especially when it comes to crimes against women.
When 18 year old unarmed Michael Brown was shot multiple times and killed by a police officer while he had his hands in the air I thought about that article. I read story after story about how African Americans and people of color are supposed to behave if stopped by the police. How we are to blame for what is happening to us. We are somehow provoking this violent, often fatal response from law enforcement. We are being asked to alter our behavior while police officers are free to systematically kill us. When will these police officers be held accountable for their actions?!
So, no more blaming the victim. Here I have a list of Do's and Don'ts to assist police officers in dealing with African Americans and people of color.
First, DON'T SHOOT
Do not judge us by skin color or appearance. Every Black person does not fit the description.
Approach us in a calm, polite manner.
Do not make any aggressive or sudden gestures.
Do not make any verbal threats.
Do not use profanity or obscene language.
Do not use the N word.
Do not assume every Black person you encounter has a warrant or is in a gang.
Do not assume everyone who is Mexican or Puerto Rican speaks Spanish.
Do not use your mace, flashlight or stun gun as a weapon.
Do not congregate with more than two officers or you could be mistaken for occupying militia.
Do not turn off any recording devices while on the job.
Have 'The Talk' with your fellow officers, friends and your children about how to deal with African Americans and people of color when you encounter them.
Do not hide evidence, lie about what really happened or protect your fellow officer.
If you want folks to stop adhering to the No Snitching rule then you must lead by example and break the Blue Wall of Silence.
Remember, most African Americans and people of color are law abiding, hard working folks no matter what the newspapers, television shows and movies would have you believe.
Oh...and most importantly...DON'T SHOOT