Unjustified Killings: Misconceptions Of A Black Man
Black men continuously battle to prove their existence within society. Terrence Crutcher and Keith L. Scott became two more black men who have fallen victim to police brutality. In Tulsa, Okla., Crutcher is unable to tend to his four children or continue his study of music.While in Charlotte, Scott can longer be a strong support system in his children’s life. Both men were gunned down for allegedly posing a threat to police.
Due to misguided anti-black sentiment, police officers fail to accept the fact that black men are capable of making positive contributions to society. As a result of a history of emasculation and suppressed aggression, the black man is disadvantaged. To move forward, American society needs to be cognizant of attempts made by the black community to progress.
Unfortunately it seems that protests are not going to change the way police view black men. Mass demonstrations against police brutality fuel white supremacist anger, which is exhibited in the actions of men and women in blue.
Is the unjustified killing of a black man more justified when it is done in the name of survival? The same black man who hustled to take care of his responsibilities can no longer provide for his family after a deadly encounter with the police. Putting on a uniform with a badge gives police an unwarranted sense of authority. This power shadows their judgment of what motivates a Black man’s actions.
The opposite is true for a black man. In a white male patriarchal society, the black man is confused about how to think and act. Black men find it extremely difficult to determine his place in society. He does everything in his power to secure his manhood. Despite having little to no wealth, recent victims of police brutality were benevolent members of their respective communities.
Psychologically, the black family dynamic is disrupted following instances where police misinterpret behavior of black men as aggressive. As a result, they have to search for coping mechanisms to fully deal with the continued loss of black men because the protectors of society refuse to learn how to have positive interactions with individuals whose experiences they cannot relate.
In a post-slavery society, black men have not been given the chance to be fully integrated into American society. So, in this free America, the black man is not truly free. Police officers are not free either because they allow a discriminatory system to stifle their interpretation of black men’s behaviors. Officers rationalize their reactions because of their inconsistent view of a Black man’s role in society.
As a black woman, my heart races when I hear breaking news. My frustration stems from the lack of consideration for the black man’s condition and disregard for his life. Another loss creates a piercing pain that encourages me to seek out answers. More than anything else, members of the black community want to seek justice and have their cries for change in police-community relations to come to fruition. My hope is that the systematic neglect of the black man’s experience will be translated into the acknowledgment of his differences, reducing the likelihood of his placement in cages and chains or in early graves.
It is not beneficial to pretend like no African American man can do wrong, but law enforcement officials are wrong for ruining their chances of doing something right. The wrongful use of their weapon occurs because they are cowering behind the shield of statutory and discretionary power. They do not care to understand or sympathize for the realities black men face. There is no consideration for the consequences of adding to the staggering absence of black men in the African American household.
By shedding light on the senseless killing of African Americans, particularly African American men, the hope is to raise awareness about police misconduct. Being a black man in a society hung up on the use of physical force perpetuates the problem.
Walking a million miles in the shoes of a black man is not sufficient enough for one to say that he or she understands his experience during situations of police brutality. In the aftermath of the recent incidents of police brutality, comprehensive psychological training is essential to prevent the commission of a felony while not labelling every black man as a criminal.
Although new, innovative ways have been developed to hold the police accountable for their actions, it is evident that these avenues are undermined by racial prejudice. The root of the problem stems from the lack of sensitivity for the black man’s experience. Instilling fear and doubt in a great percentage of the American population is counterproductive. Instead of contributing to the systematic practice of shooting on impulse or the premise of fear, police officers need to work towards understanding the people in the communities in which they serve.
Jonell Brown is a senior political science major from East Orange, New Jersey. She recently finished her internship with Reuters Brazil. Jonell currenlty attends Spelman College.