I’m black and live in Nigeria. They don’t even need to be big they just need to have shifty eyes, be a tad darker than most, sweaty, walk with too much of a limp or swagger that might suggest present or earlier drunkenness, have a little too many facial marks or bones jutting out and you know to walk the other way fast and that’s where pretty much all of us are black.
I was going to Dubai via Ethiopia the other day, just about the time a French airport was attacked by shooters and no amount of studies in the world could have made me feel 100% safe around so many people in headscarves and sketchy beards. Did I tell myself to get a grip several times? Yes. But it didn’t stop me looking out for that illusionary shifty guy in a turban with too much of a thick bulge around the stomach that could be a bomb. You see it was my delusion and until it passed, you couldn’t take it from me despite the fact that most where just normal people trying to get to their destinations in one piece just like me.
You can’t legistlate people’s delusions because they are by definition irrational. Most are able to overcome it but not by telling them to not have it at all. And many more will just never get over it. This is especially true for law enforcement who for the purposes of making arguments we dehumanize and label as a faceless group without acknowledging that they are just as human as the rest of us and most just want to make it home to their families each day while working a dangerous job in dangerous neighborhoods. You could argue that we shouldn’t let irrational people into the force but not without accepting that it’s the job itself that builds the paranoia and no one wants to acknowledge that that paranoia affects both black and white cops alike especially in the most dangerous cities and neighborhoods.
Let me tell you what is likely to be at the base of the fear of most ordinary everyday folk. The black vendetta culture that seems to be passed from generation to generation among African Americans. That passive aggressive undertone with which those who call themselves black activists speak is bound to make anyone no matter how intersectional scared. Look around you on medium and you can find them spewing the most racist gabbage under the guise of dismantling white privilege…a straw man if ever their was one.
Most everyday black folk don’t think like that but when the most vocal of a group are the craziest it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff and know who to be scared of and who not to be scared of. I’m black and I would be scared of some of the stuff these people who claim to be speaking for other black people say — never mind that their is no black hivemind and they probably couldn’t sell some of the stuff they say to their own people because no one would buy it.
So bring all the studies in the world but if a group of people keep snarling at you and claiming that just because of your skin colour (the one thing you can’t choose for yourself) you remain their century old oppressor and the reason for all their present woes while swearing to not leave you alone till they dismantle your every privilege by whatever means necessary….you would be scared too.