Upon the tragic killing of Jonathan Farrell (below), I’d like to challenge you to consider this:
- A large black man, who happens to be a former college football player, beats on a woman’s door for help. He’s been in a car accident (see the car below), so he’s obviously disheveled and panicked, if not in shock. The woman in the house probably doesn’t know that though. She opens the door, sees him and panics herself, then slams the door, automatically assumes he’s dangerous and calls the police, saying that she’s being “robbed” by a black man.
- The cops arrive. They see a large black who isn’t acting normal. They attempt to take him down with a stun gun. It doesn’t work. When the man begins to run at them, unarmed, nobody thinks maybe he’s just panicked or feeling the effects of the stun gun. They don’t attempt to shoot him with the stun gun again or to hit him with a night stick. Instead, he’s seen as dangerous and 12 shots are fired at him, 10 of which connect.
What are we seeing here? I see a large black man that was seen as dangerous, even though, nobody ever really talked to him or figured out what was going on. I see a dead black man. One that didn’t stand a chance, because he encountered people that weren’t willing to give him a chance, based on something he couldn’t really change: Being big and black.
Now for some people, this is just a terrible accident. For me though, this is a tragedy that could have been prevented. You see, we live in a time where people want to immediately deny race in the event of a horrible tragedy, even though race is clearly the motivation. So am I saying that Officer Randall Kerrick (to the right) was a racist that wanted to rid the world of black people? Actually, no.
I’m saying that many white people do not care to admit a very harsh reality in America, which is that:
In America, black people, especially men, are seen as dangerous and aggressive…PERIOD. And when they’re bigger and blacker, that stereotype is compounded.
This is so much bigger than racism. To call that cop a “racist” is an oversimplification of a larger problem. I truly believe there’s a possibility that the cop reacted, not from rage or hate, but from FEAR. You see, in our country, a whole race of people have been branded as big, mean, dangerous and aggressive. We grow up with this idea branded into our minds about black people and then it becomes a very real fear.
- So now, when a black woman shouts…she’s the angry black woman and you’re nervous.
- When a black kid sags his pants and wears a hoodie…he’s a thug and you think he’s suspicious.
- And when a large black man panics…he’s dangerous and needs to be taken down before he kills you.
Ask yourself an honest question: Do large black men make you nervous if they’re not in a suit? If you said no, I think you’re full of shit. I’m a black woman and I’ve been fed the same stereotype. If I hadn’t grown up surrounded by large black men, I’d probably be nervous too.
So here’s something I’d like to challenge you all to do: Fight the stereotypes in your mind. Stop assuming the Mexican is a gardener. Stop assuming the Indian man smells like curry and owns a gas station. Stop assuming the pretty blonde girl won’t rob your ass or molest your children. And stop assuming that black people are dangerous.
Because we’re not all dangerous, but many of us are dying because you’re too afraid to stop and consider we’re not.