We need to Talk

To be honest, it’s a conversation I know nothing about… how could I? I am a white man. I don’t know what it’s like, nor will I ever. I’ve never feared Law Enforcement Officers… well, only when I knew I was in the wrong. But even then I never feared for my life. I was taught to follow the Law and respect those who enforce it. It’s their job to ‘Protect and Serve’ us… The People.

That’s not the same story for every American. 

… 

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https://slate.com/human-interest/2020/06/white-parents-the-talk-racism-police-brutality.html 

… 

Here in Kansas City, KS… I’m in the MINORITY.


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It’s not quite as stark as if I were living in The Bahamas, but it is quite obvious. And it becomes even more pronounced when I drive to one of the outlying suburbs, where there are no POC at the shopping centers… where there’s not a pawn shop on every other corner… where there are fresh veggies and sidewalks. 

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https://www.npr.org/2017/05/03/526655831/a-forgotten-history-of-how-the-u-s-government-segregated-america 

… 

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https://www.usinsourcing.com/kc-food-deserts-a-sign-of-economic-decline/ 

If you’ve ever lived in a part of town where the National Pizza Chains won’t deliver to your neighborhood… you’ve been the victim of racism. 

… 

About a month into the quarantine for COVID-19, our refrigerator stopped keeping things cold. It might have been something as simple as cleaning the coils or replacing an internal component, but I’ll never know. No service repair shop would send a technician into Wyandotte County. If I had lived somewhere else though, they were more than happy to help. But here… not so much. 

Instead of a $300 repair bill, we had to buy a brand new refrigerator… all because of a preconceived notion of the community in which I live. 

And where on the map was this ‘line’ drawn, between “Technicians are standing by” and “Sorry you’re outta luck”? I know from experience, the dividing line for a delivery area can end abruptly on ONE SIDE of the street, while the OTHER SIDE is deemed just too far away. 

Back in my day… we were told we should lock our doors when driving down a particular street or driving in a particular neighborhood. But turn a corner, and hook a left at the light… you’re suddenly in a neighborhood filled with fully restored 100 year old mansions. Literally, no less than THREE BLOCKS down the road. 

Who draws these lines? Who decides THIS neighborhood is ‘acceptable’ and THIS neighborhood is NOT… 

And what DATA are they basing those conclusions upon? 

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https://www.axios.com/army-officer-lawsuit-police-afro-latino-virginia-f5aceedf-6efe-4a8f-b4ca-8d8b9c297ea1.html 

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There are no clear lines drawn within our communities. What effects ONE will effect us ALL… because we live SIDE-BY-SIDE. In our schools. In our grocery stores. At work and at home. If the numbers are SKEWED… if the DATA we’re basing our conclusions upon is WRONG… it effects our Laws, our priorities… our very perception of what is “right” and what is “wrong”.

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… 

 

Would it surprise anyone if we found a connecting thread that tied all these deadly encounters together? On the surface… sometimes these officers are white, sometimes they are black. There is no discrimination it seems, when it comes to the origin of the Use of Force… so what is it. 

 

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2017/02/14/a-day-with-killology-police-trainer-dave-grossman/ 

… 

 

Black men are taught from an early age to fear encounters with the police… as I would if I were the father of a black child. Therefore, they are fearful and paranoid when these encounters eventually happen.

It’s a natural, rational, completely understandable… and PREDICTABLE human response to a potentially life-threatening situation.


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Law Enforcement Officers are TRAINED to interpret those actions as a threat. ‘The subject is acting paranoid… they’re hiding something. They’re acting GUILTY.’ 

What FACTS would then flash through an officer’s head in that split-second decision making process… ALL SKEWED, by laws that are tainted with Racial Profiling and a Criminal Justice System that’s based on CASH. 

Did you know police can just take your stuff if they suspect it’s involved in a crime? They can! It’s a shady process called “civil asset forfeiture,” and it would make for a weird episode of Law and Order.

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“The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota said it had ‘deep concerns that police here appear to have used dangling air fresheners as an excuse for making a pretextual stop, something police do all too often to target Black people.’”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/daunte-wright-was-stopped-expired-plates-driving-while-black-may-n1263878  

… 

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https://www.aclu.org/report/driving-while-black-racial-profiling-our-nations-highways 

… 

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I’ve tried to teach my kids that they are privileged, and that it’s wrong… and it’s on us to do the work to make things right. We cannot simply STAND SILENT. Use your little white boy shield and SPEAK OUT… someone’s LIFE may depend on it! 

I know it’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a 15 year old boy… but right now? Until we take the necessary steps toward ensuring Law Enforcement Officers protect the rights of every citizen in every State, EQUALLY… that’s all we’ve GOT

That needs to change. 

JC 

Author: jackcharbonneau

Husband, father, housewife, musician, theoretical astrophysicist, (FMR) Presidential Candidate in 2020, and all-around human guy.

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