Why exercising my rights as a black man is suicide
*Please note I live in Tokyo and have been racially profiled numerous times, which is why Japan and Japanese law enforcement is included.
Many people seem to believe I can exercise my rights and refuse to be searched, it doesn’t work that way. The fact your brain operates in a way that your first idea when meeting law enforcement is to exercise your rights is a sign of privilege.
As a black man I do not have this privilege. My first thought when meeting law enforcement is to comply because that is the only option I have. I can’t exercise my rights in America, much less in a foreign country. Exercising my rights means being defiant. Being defiant is akin to being angry, which many people will percieve as threatening because I am a black man.
Officers search me on the assumption that I am carrying weapons or drugs and refusing to comply with their demands will only elevate their suspicion. So sure, I could exercise my rights and be defiant but I would be perpetuating the angry black man stereotype. You have to understand a bullet is lethal whether it comes from an american cop or Japanese cop.
Refusing to comply in most situations is often a death sentence because I am proposing a challenge to said officer. When your skin color is deemed a weapon people will do everything possible to protect themselves. As a black man you have to know when to pick and choose your battles. Picking battles with law enforcement often ends with fatal consequences. Moving is also not a realistic, because people of darker skin are treated poorly all over the world. I’ve been to 3 different contingents and multiple countries, this could’ve easily happened had I chosen to study in Paris, Madrid, the UK, wherever.
The only realistic thing I can do to ensure my safety is assume that people suspect I’m dangerous and act in a respectable manner whilst following orders so that nothing bad will occur. In most situations I can conduct myself in a way that guarantees my safety. But being respectful isn’t enough.
I have to be on high alert at all times to survive in this world, because every time I turn around someone feels threatened by me. Please understand this and know the way I go through life is vastly different from the way you do. I’m able to post this today because I chose NOT to exercise my rights, because as a black man many of my humane rights were voided upon birth.