In full disclosure, I have a few things to share before I go any further. Let me preface this with I fully support my local law enforcement. In fact, I work for Dallas Police Department – in a civilian position and hold a Masters in Criminology. *Racial slurs are used in this post.
I live in Dallas, Texas – which is approximately 35-40 minutes south of McKinney, Texas. If you have been on the Internet at any time over the last few days, I can guarantee you may have watched the video, skimmed through comments on various sources, or had at least 2 people share their thoughts on the Craig Ranch Pool Party.
The first time I watched the video, I didn’t make it past the officer grabbing the young girl by her braids without a flood of emotions rushing over me. There were tears. I needed to be comforted and told that its ok.
The second time I stoically watched every single move of the video. From the teens running around, the various police officers responding to the situation, the kind voice of the teenager capturing every moment on his smartphone, and the bystanders wandering around – I watched. This second viewing was my time to make sense of the entire situation and begin asking the questions. What went wrong? Where did it go wrong? Where are the adults in this situation?
The third time was the viewing that set me on the path that leads here. I was shocked, confused, and angry. Angry that I repeatedly read from a number of different individuals on my personal Facebook that we should wait to hear “both sides of the story” or “these teens shouldn’t have been mouthing off.”
You get the idea.
Stay with me here, I promise I’m going to make a point.
My outrage doesn’t stem from the fact that residents in a community wanted an out of control pool party to end. I get that, I really do. I don’t even like it when the residents from a nearby apartment complex take up the parking in front of my house. The outrage I have stems from the police methods that are used within this video. I strongly advise you reviewing the video again and watch closely as one officer calmly discusses the situation with a few of the teens. Shortly after this brief interaction on the video, we are reintroduced to our barrel rolling volatile officer, screaming his profanities and beating his chest to make a point. All of the cursing and complaining about running around in the heat with 30lbs of gear on was too much. This is your profession and you should present yourself as a professional.
Then his actions towards the young girl who was mouthing off occurred and I lost it.
The pain was raw and real.
And I realized that I had very few allies in my corner who understood the feelings elicited from this portion of the video.
My Facebook newsfeed was flooded with the proud supporters of this brave officer and the actions he took against a 15 year old girl. Another argument concluded that this young girl shouldn’t have been mouthing off to the police officer to force him to reach that point. Oh and my absolute favorite, this isn’t about race.
It’s never about race, because in all honesty we are too afraid to discuss the differences that we all have. We still are under this notion that segregation has happened and we elected our first Black President. Educate yourself because I can promise you that you wouldn’t last half a day in my shoes as an African American woman. Every day I can name at least one racist related act that occurs to me. This happens on a daily basis.
I am an example of a broken black woman.
It started by being called a nigger at 7 years old and told you can’t pretend to be Mary Kate or Ashley Olsen because your skin complexion is too dark.
It continued when people referred to my proper speaking habits being unusual.
Then the experience escalated….
Have you ever experienced being the one person singled out of a group of people walking out of an American Eagle because a belt was stolen? What about being forced to empty your purse on the mall floor to prove your innocence? By the way, I had to humble myself and pick up all the contents amidst the laughs from the white teenagers who walked out before me.
Have you ever experienced being chased by a couple of guys in a truck as you walked to a night class? Let’s not forget them calling you a nigger and throwing empty beer bottles at you! Campus police couldn’t believe that something so foul happened to me after I sprinted all the way to my class out of breath and tears of terror streaming down my face.
I spent a majority of my last few days removing the toxic people from my newsfeed. If you can’t understand the bigger issue here, then I have no need for you. What I do have is vital information to help you understand why this shouldn’t just be important to me.
If any of this was moving, please I urge you to take the time to view these sources that speak volumes to why this does matter.
A shame for McKinney and for all of us (via Dallas Morning News)
THIS IS WHAT IT’S LIKE (via Austin Channing)
How White People Should Respond To McKinney/Racial Discrimination Issues (via The Nive Nulls)
A Former Cop On What Went Wrong In McKinney (via Talking Points Memo)
This is it. If these articles don’t spark even a simple thank you or the initial question of “what is your life like?” I don’t see this being a space that you want to visit. If you are a Facebook friend, I would recommend that you delete me. Eventually it will come down to me removing you (if I haven’t done so already).
All of these years, I’ve allowed myself to make excuses for this type of behavior. I always would say “you’ll never understand,” but that can’t be an excuse anymore because never will a majority of my friends understand what it’s like to be a minority in America.
As broken as I have been, Maya Angelou stated it best –
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.